Two months ago, Libya threatened to suspend co-operation with Italy, on immigration. It has now announced that it is close to a deal which would see Italy pay “billions” in compensation for three decades of colonialism. Saif al Islam, son of the Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi, did not specify the currency when he quoted the amount.
Rome says negotiations are well-advanced
following Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s visit to Tripoli last month.
Recent relations have been heated, never more so than when Italian interests in Libya were attacked over Muslim cartoons in the Western media. The argument in May was over the appointment of an Italian government minister who wore a T-shirt showing one of the cartoons.
Libya may have regained its independence from Italy in 1951 but firm trade ties remain.
Italy imports a quarter of all its oil and a third of its gas from Libya.