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Saturday, 26 October, 2002, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Libya cuts links with world
tripoli
Hung up: Libya is angry at deportations
Libya has closed its airports and severed phone links with the outside world in the latest demand for compensation from former colonial power, Italy.

People who phoned Libya received a recorded message: "As part of the mourning over the victims of the savage crimes committed by the Italian fascists against the Libyan people, all international telecommunications are to be halted today."

gaddafi
Gaddafi's protests continue despite apology
Libyans wore black to mark the Day of Mourning and black banners fluttered over homes, government buildings, buses and cars said the official Libyan news agency, JANA.

Airports were closed down, but opened briefly for a visit by Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League, which Libya is threatening to leave.

Libyan satellite television broadcast its programmes in black and white on Saturday.

Italy payment

The Italian occupation of Libya began in 1911.

Allied troops ended the Italian occupation during World War II and the United Nations declared Libya an independent state in 1952.

In the 1980s and 90s, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi repeatedly demanded reparations from Italy for the colonial period.

Italy replied that it had settled all obligations in a payment worth $6.7m in 1956.

And in 1998, the Italian and Libyan governments signed an agreement ending the conflict.

Cordial relations

Italy apologised for deporting unknown thousands of Libyans to barren islands in southern Italy, where thousands died because of disease, famine and bad weather.

But the protests have stood and Libya has held an annual Day of Mourning.

Apart from the protest, relations between Italy and Libya are currently cordial.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is scheduled to pay a one-day visit to Libya on Monday. Italy imports oil and natural gas from Libya.

See also:

08 Oct 02 | Country profiles
10 Jul 98 | Middle East
25 Oct 02 | Africa
06 Feb 01 | Middle East
02 Dec 99 | Middle East
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