Italy-Libya: Rome Tripoli's top trade partner,wants security

Libyan president at economic forum Rome, priority for us

11 January, 10:30

Italy-Libya: Rome Tripoli's top trade partner,wants security Italy-Libya: Rome Tripoli's top trade partner,wants security

(ANSAmed) - Rome - Commercial exchanges between Italy and Libya were worth 4,585 billion euros in 2011, with Italian exports towards Tripoli up 305% and imports from Libya rising 211% in the first months of 2012, according to data released at an economic forum on Italy and Libya at the foreign ministry in Rome. Participants however stressed that lack of security in Libya could halt the further growth of this privileged relationship.

The meeting was introduced by Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and the president of the National Congress and Libyan head of state Mohamed Youssef El-Mgariaf who attended together with representatives of 70 Italian companies and banks including Alitalia, Anas, Edison, Impregilo, Unicredit, Intesa San Paolo, Ferrovie dello Stato, Salini and Trevi.

The new Libya post-Gaddafi, of which Italy is the top commercial partner, is eyed by Italian entrepreneurs for new investments. However security remains a concern. The main challenge in order to boost the presence of Italian companies in Libya is connected 'first of all to physical and judicial security', said Terzi, as well as the re-activation of contracts, the payment of credit and war damages and reconstruction.

El-Mgariaf responded by saying that 'security is at the top of our concerns and we have started to confront it with the help of the Italian Republic' which was particularly helpful 'in training security and armed forces' and integrating insurgents.

'We are negotiating with neighbouring countries for joint efforts in fighting arms, ammunitions, drugs and human trafficking with the help of the EU and countries in the region', he continued. This has led to the initiative by Prime Minister Ali Zidan to travel to neighbouring countries, 'seal borders' and 'intensify air surveillance', continued Al-Mgariaf.

He also expressed the 'gratitude of the Libyan people' for Italy's support to the revolution. The high level of the Libyan delegation which included six members of the government and Zidan's planned visit to Rome on January 30 'show how important Italy is for the new Libya', he also said, adding that 'for the first time in more than 40 years we have an elected congress and transitional government ' engaged in building 'a modern and democratic state with an agreed Constitution'. 'We want the respect of human rights, starting from women's rights, the separation of powers and a free and transparent information', he concluded. (ANSAmed)

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