Italy to invest $5 billion in Libya

Aug. 30, 2008 at 11:30 AM
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BENGHAZI, Libya, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has announced Italy will invest billions of dollars during the next quarter century in Libya.

At least $5 billion will go toward infrastructure projects, including a coastal highway and mine sweeping efforts, as part of a plan to end colonial era disputes, the BBC reported Saturday.

Italy had occupied Libya in 1911 and it was a colony until its independence in 1951. Libya has long sought compensation, claiming Italy was responsible for thousands of deaths and uprooting of thousands of residents.

Berlusconi and Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi are in the port city of Benghazi finishing a bilateral friendship and cooperation agreement. The Italian leader said it was time to "turn the page on the past," the BBC said.

It was Berlusconi's second trip to Libya since June with previous trips focusing on illegal immigration from Africa to Europe, including the thousands of migrants who each year attempt to reach Italy by boat from Libya.

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