First Published: 2012-11-06

 

Italy's top diplomat in Libya for high-level talks with first elected authorities

 

Talks touch on business opportunities for Italian companies, notably in construction, energy sectors, boosting cultural exchanges.

 

Middle East Online

Will Libya’s new regime benefit Italy?

TRIPOLI - Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi visited Libya on Tuesday for high-level talks with the first elected authorities since the ouster of veteran strongman Moamer Gathafi.

Terzi met with national assembly head Mohammed Megaryef and acting Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.

"We intend to develop with the new Libya, through this government, an even closer relationship, particularly on the political, security and economic front," Terzi told journalists in Tripoli.

The talks touched on business opportunities for Italian companies, notably in the construction and energy sectors, boosting cultural exchanges between the two nations, and increasing visas for Libyans wishing to go to Italy, he said.

Zeidan expressed his country's commitment to maintaining tight ties with Italy and vowed that Libya will no longer be a "jihadist state that exports deviant ideologies".

In September, Rome expelled two Libyans accused of spreading jihadist ideas.Zeidan said his cabinet would be sworn in next week, rather than on Thursday as had been previously announced by Megaryef, and take office shortly after that.

Terzi's visit comes a day after a criminal court in Rome ordered the release of more than one billion euros in Libyan assets frozen since March.

The court ruled that Libyan Investment Authority shares in aerospace giant Finmeccanica and UniCredit bank be unfrozen, LIA chairman Mohsen Derregia was quoted as saying by Italian news agencies.

The LIA, a government-managed sovereign wealth fund and holding company based in Tripoli, was a key financial pillar of Gathafi's regime.

It was created in 2006 to invest oil-rich Libya's vast foreign currency reserves and diversify income sources away from natural resources.

The Italian assets were frozen at the request of the International Criminal Court as part of an investigation into crimes against humanity by the late strongman and his inner circle.

Under Gathafi, Libya briefly held the biggest single stake in UniCredit.

Libya is a former Italian colony and Italy is the one of the top foreign investors in the country as well as being one of its top trade partners. Italy also played a crucial role in the conflict to oust Gathafi last year, acting as a base for NATO air raids.

Gathafi was overthrown by NATO-backed rebels in August 2011. He went into hiding but was found and killed two months later by an angry mob.

 

US-Israeli ties sink to new depths over Gaza war

Fierce clashes kill at least 38 people in Benghazi

UN warns buying oil from terrorists could lead to sanctions

Warning of Tripoli catastrophe after huge oil depot blaze

Iran flogs 5 people for eating in public during Ramadan

Air Algerie crash black boxes sent to France

US, UN call for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Egypt army kills 14 jihadists in restive Sinai Peninsula

Calls for temporary Gaza ceasefire fall on deaf ears

Yemen army foils new Qaeda attempt to seize military posts

Investigators need ‘few days’ to probe cause of Algeria plane crash

Tunisia army suffers more losses in open war with terrorism

Jihadists advance amid escalation in Syria anti-regime offensive

Iraq Shiite militia takes bloody revenge against ‘Islamic State’ in Baquba

Israel resumes devastating military assault on Gaza

Thousands face famine as food security situation worsens in Somalia

Death toll in Gaza climbs as fragile ceasefire reveals destruction

Egypt summons Turkey charge d'affaires for second time in one week

‘Islamic State’ jihadists dynamite Shiite shrine in Mosul

US evacuates embassy staff in Libya over ‘real risk’

Investigators begin 'difficult' probe into Air Algerie plane disaster

Armed men snatch Head of Baghdad Provincial Council

‘Islamic State’ beheads Syrian soldiers in Raqa

Kerry in Paris for talks on long-term Gaza truce

Hezbollah chief speaks out on Gaza

Two rival Islamic states in Syria power struggle

Crete protest against Syria chemicals destruction in Mediterranean

74 killed in IS assault on Syria regime territory

Iran confirms arrest of Washington Post correspondent

Somali 'Shebab commanders' killed in AU offensive

Paris: survivors of Air Algerie jet crash 'unlikely'

Jordan shots down drone near Syria border

Gaza civilian toll spiralling to above 800

UN urges Europe to tackle Mediterranean migrant crisis

From Israel with ‘virus’: Death threat letter reaches Palestinian mission in France

Ordeal of ‘apostasy’ woman ends with departure from Sudan

Another bloody day as Israel targets civilians in UN-run school

‘Islamic State’ launches multiple attacks on Syria army

Attack on Egypt army post bears fingerprints of foreign intelligence

Harassment of Christians escalates in Islamist-run Sudan

Air Algerie plane goes missing over Mali

Algeria plane with many French nationals on board vanishes over Mali

Iraqi protesters denounce treatment of minority Christians

Iraq elects Kurdish politician as federal president

Russia begins supplying military equipment to Iraq