Italy to help recreate Libyan police force, Terzi says

18 January, 16:52

(ANSAmed) - Rome, January 18 - Italy will help Libyàs transitional government to recreate national police force and urges its international partners to do the same, Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi told parliament Wednesday.

"Italy believes the formation of Libyan police forces is essential, respecting international conventions," Terzi said.

A visit to later this week Tripoli by Terzi and Premier Mario Monti will provide the chance to help Libya draw up a "road map" to complete its transition from the dictatorship of late strongman Muammar Gaddafi, the foreign minister said.

Monti, Terzi and a diplomatic and business delegation will visit Libya on Saturday to start to restore cooperation with the north African country, reactivating an important friendship treaty.

Monti is taking "various ministers" with him "to reactivate the friendship treaty with broad scope, to restore, intensify and update cooperation," the premier said.

Terzi recently said Italy would move "swiftly" to implement a range of provisions in the treaty, sealed three years ago but suspended during the war against Gaddafi.

Terzi said Libyan transitional leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil had shown during a visit to Rome on December 15 "how much Libya had been awaiting the reactivation of the treaty".

"We are moving very swiftly to enact all of its various dimensions," the foreign minister added.

Under the friendship treaty Italy agreed to pay colonial reparations of $5 billion over 20 years, including the construction of a coastal highway, while Libya pledged to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

Now that it is being reactivated, Italy will be able to fully reopen its oil and gas pipelines and Libya will pursue wide financial interests in Italy including stakes in giant bank Unicredit and soccer club Juventus, helped by assets that had been frozen during the war.

Monti has stressed the move would help both countries "focus on the priorities of the new Libya" after the demise of Gaddafi, who was caught and executed by rebels on October 20.

The treaty was signed by Gaddafi and then Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi in mid-2008.

Italy was initially wary about taking part in the war against Libya but later provided key air bases for the Nato-led campaign as well as fighter-bombers that ran hundreds of sorties. (ANSAmed).

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