Italy will give Libya US$5 billion as compensation for occupation

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Silvio Berlusconi made the deal with his Libyan counterpart
Image: Lorenza e Vincenzo Laconianni/Fotoguru.it.

The government of Italy has agreed to pay Libya US$5 billion as compensation for its occupation of the country from 1911 to 1943. The agreement was reached between the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and Baghdadi Mahmudi, Berlusconi's Libyan counterpart.

"It is a material and emotional recognition of the mistakes that our country has done to yours during the colonial era," said Berlusconi after arriving in Libya. "This agreement opens the path to further cooperation."

"The accord will provide for $200 million a year over the next 25 years through investments in infrastructure projects in Libya," Berlusconi continued. "It is my duty, as a head of government, to express to you in the name of the Italian people our regret and apologies for the deep wounds that we have caused you."

In return for providing compensation, Italy has asked that Libya attempts to reduce the number of immigrants illegally moving from Libya to Italy.

As a result of the deal, the Libyan government has named August 30 "Libyan-Italian Friendship Day".

The deal has also made some people ask if the United Kingdom should provide compensation to Nigeria for it's colonisation of the country.

Dr. Eyimofe Atake from the Senior Advocate of Nigeria commented on this issue: "To be able to answer that question, one needs to know exactly why compensation was paid and the circumstances in which compensation was paid. One needs to know the fact of the case between the Italians and the Libyans and how the issue for the payment of compensation arose. No two cases are necessarily similar, so in the absence of the facts and circumstances that led to the payment of compensation, it will be totally speculative to say if Nigeria could ask for compensation or be paid compensation by Britain."

"In any event, under international law, Britain and Italy are separate and distinct states. They are sovereign states. Consequently, the British government is not bound by the acts of the Italian government. The decision of the Italian government is personal to them based on their peculiar circumstance and facts, which have nothing to do with the British government and the Nigerian government," Atake continued.


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