Libya's foreign minister on Saturday said Italy had agreed on US$5 billion compensation for its 30-year occupation of the country in the first half of the 20th century. According to the AP, Abdel-Rahman Shalgam has told reporters that visiting Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is set to sign a memorandum pledging US$5 billion worth of construction projects, student grants, and pensions for Libyan soldiers who served with the Italians during the Second World War.
In return, Italy wants Libya to crack down on illegal migrants turning up on Italian shores and has promised to fund US$500 million worth of electronic monitoring devices on the Libyan coastline.
Berlusconi himself confirmed the news. "The accord will provide for 200 million dollars a year over the next 25 years through investments in infrastructure projects in Libya," Berlusconi stated. "This agreement should put an end to 40 years of discord. It is a full and moral acknowledgement of the damage inflicted on Libya by Italy during the colonial era," the Italian leader told reporters in the Mediterranean city of Benghazi.