Gaddafi threatens Italian firms

08 October 2003
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on 7 October threatened to expel Italian companies from the country if Rome did not pay compensation for damages caused during the 32-year colonial occupation. 'Italy will lose its interests in Libya if it ignores the signed agreements with regard to these indemnities,' Gaddafi said, referring to an agreement in which Italy expressed regret for past events. 'These losses would be very great for Italian companies.'

Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem in late September reaffirmed the government's commitment to privatisation as part of a move to attract more foreign direct investment. He said that the government aimed to privatise 360 firms, 50 of which would be open to foreign investors. 'The participation of foreign companies in the privatisation process is very welcome,' Ghanem said. Companies likely to attract the most foreign investment are those in the oil, petrochemicals, steel, cement and agriculture sectors. Ghanem said that privatisation in Libya was needed due to the companies' poor performance, which he blamed on bad management (MEED 22:8:03).

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