Rome, 10 January 2013:
The democratic transition in Libya has reached a “crucial stage”, said Italy’s Foreign Minister, Giulio Terzi, while opening the Italy-Libya economic forum in Rome today, Thursday.
He underlined that the development of the relationship between Rome and Tripoli is linked to the evolution in Libya freed from Muammar Qaddafi’s regime. The Italian Foreign Minister added, addressing the delegation headed by the President of the General National Mohamed Magarief that: “This is the moment of truth in order to give prospects of security and development to the many young people who bravely took to the streets in the squares and streets of your cities to resist a brutal dictatorship”.
Terzi also stressed that: “Libya must face complex challenges: creating effective security and judicial institutions, disarming the militias, generating new job opportunities, reconstructing the social and economic fabric.” These objectives, said the minister, “are crucial for our primary national interests too.” The Libyan leadership “is determined to pursue the virtuous path which has undertaken and to strengthen its ties with Italy”, a country which he said is “the best advocate of Libya in Europe.”
Terzi stressed that, for entrepreneurs, “security, physical and juridical, is essential”, since “the certainty of collecting their credits and the safeguard of their investments are as important as profitability. Many enterprises are ready to strengthen their presence in Libya, but they are waiting for an improvement of the general conditions of security”.
Moreover Terzi pointed out, the “extremely significant” data regarding “the exponential growth of our interexchange”: in the first 9 months of 2012, Italian exports to Libya grew of 305% and Italian imports from Libya grew of 211%. In this respect, Terzi underlined that “it is true that the exchange diminished, because of the general situation of uncertainty in the country, but it is also true that recovery moved forward at a surprising fast pace”.
According to Magarief, the relationship between Italy and Libya is strategic, since it is “based on common interests”. The treaty of friendship of 2008, reactivated one year ago, “includes areas in which it is possible to achieve a qualitative leap on the economic and commercial level, as well as on the political and cultural one.” Magarief also highlighted that this was “his first visit to Europe” and that the Libyan Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan, would be in Rome by the end of January.
“The level of relationship” Magarief explained, “is very high on the political and economic level” also thanks to “Italy’s support to the 17February Revolution”. Tripoli, he admitted, “is now called to face new challenges”, among them security and fight against terrorism. The latter, he admitted “is our top concern”.
The forum was also attended by the Italian Ambassador to Tripoli, Giuseppe Buccino Grimaldi.
It is estimated that more than 70 Italian enterprises are ready to start or consolidate their investments in Libya, but they are waiting for a more stable security framework. Trade between Italy and Libya reached €4.585 billion in 2011, making Rome the leading partner of Tripoli.
AGI, Rome [/restrict]