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Berlusconi, Gaddafi resolve colonial dispute

Latest update : 2008-08-30

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will meet Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in the Libyan city of Benghazi to sign a cooperation agreement in compensation for misdeeds committed during Italy's military occupation of Libya.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will meet Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi on Saturday, an Italian government spokesman said, amid reports the two sides were set to resolve a long-standing colonial dispute.
   
Berlusconi is set to leave for Benghazi, Libya -- his second visit to the country in three months -- where he will meet Kadhafi before returning to Italy in the evening, a government spokesman told AFP on Friday.
   
The spokesman did not confirm the conclusion of an accord between the two countries, which ANSA news agency had reported earlier Friday, citing sources close to Berlusconi.
   
However, Berlusconi said in an interview with a Libyan newspaper that Italy and Libya would sign an agreement to resolve their colonial dispute.
   
"The friendship and cooperation agreement that we will sign on Saturday opens all avenues for the consolidation of our economic and social partnership and will increase cooperation between the two countries," Berlusconi said in the interview, to be published in Oya on Saturday.
   
The meeting in Benghazi, 1,000 kilometres (625 miles) east of Tripoli, follows agreement on the main points of a 25-year bilateral pact that will notably see the building of a coastal motorway across Libya, from the Tunisian to the Egyptian borders.
   
Berlusconi last saw Kadhafi in June when they discussed the implementation of a December 2007 accord on joint maritime patrols to curtail the flow of illegal immigrants from Africa to Europe.
   
A Libyan delegation has been in Rome for several days negotiating the bilateral agreement.
   
Talks have also been underway for some time on compensation that Rome would pay Tripoli over Italy's military occupation and colonization of Libya prior to independence in 1951.

Date created : 2008-08-30

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