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Friday, July 10, 1998 Published at 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK

Libya says Italy apologizes for colonial occupation

(For Online only) Libyan television has said that Italy has for the first time apologized for the time it colonized the north African country and for the damage and misery it caused.

In a broadcast on Thursday, the TV carried a Libyan-Italian joint statement setting out the intention to open a new era in relations between the two countries.

Here follow excerpts of the broadcast: Italy announced officially and for the first time today its apology to the Libyan people for the period of colonization of Libya.

It therefore acknowledged the black colonization period and the loss of Libyans' lives and the huge damage and miseries inflicted on the Libyans, their agriculture and construction.

In a joint Libyan-Italian statement, which was made public today through the Italian mass media, the Italian government expressed regret for the Libyan people's sufferings at the hands of the Italian colonialism and pledged to banish its legacy in a bid to begin a new era of fraternal and constructive relations between the Libyan and the Italian people... The following is the text of the statement: In an effort to boost relations between the two friendly people, Italy calls upon Libya to forget the past.

Italy is called upon not to repeat its past actions against Libya in the future.

Desire for mutual respect Out of their joint commitment to good neighbourliness, neither Italy nor Libya shall allow aggressive acts to be carried out against each other from any sources.

The two sides express their desire and determination to boost their relations on new bases, i.e. equality, mutual respect and cooperation in all fields in a way that will secure the interest and prosperity of the two people and will contribute to peace and stability in the Mediterranean region as well as to its economic development and the prosperity of its people.

The Italian government expresses regret for the Libyan people's suffering at the hands of the Italian colonialism.

Italy is now trying to remove whatever it can of the colonialist era.

Promise to search for deportees In an effort to forget the past and begin a new era of friendly and constructive relations between the two people, the Italian government undertakes to carry out the following: 1.

To search with all available means for the Libyan nationals who were forcibly deported during that era from their homeland and taken away from their families. 2.

To work directly through bilateral and multilateral channels to remove the mine fields which were planted in Libya during the war.

In order to achieve this goal, the Italian government undertakes to train units specializing in the removal of mines remaining in Libya.

It also pledges to treat victims of land mines, in Italian special hospitals, and also set up a artificial limps unit in Libya through cooperation between the Libyan Red Crescent and the Italian Red Cross.

Compensation for mine victims 3.

To compensate victims of the mines, contribute to the setting up of humanitarian projects in aid of the families of disabled people and cooperate with the Libyan state's efforts to develop the regions which have suffered from the presence of the mines.

However, the details of these projects will be determined by later agreements. 4.

In order to achieve these objectives, measures will be taken to establish a Libyan-Italian company whose chairman will be appointed by the Libyan side.

Italian public and private companies will take part in the company in order to contribute to bolstering the Libyan economy though carrying out infrastructure projects and development projects in general... Pledge to return artefacts Italy pledges to return to the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah all manuscripts, archives, documents, artefacts and archaeological pieces transferred to Italy during and after the Italian occupation of Libya in accordance with the UNESCO convention of 14th November 1970 on banning illegal export and transfer of cultural properties.

The two countries will cooperate to determine these manuscripts, documents, artefacts and archaeological pieces and their whereabouts.

The two sides grant each other the most favoured nation status.

The Italian government grants Libyan citizens the right to enjoy the benefits stipulated in Italian legislature during the occupation era provided this does not contravene the obligations resulting from Italy's membership of the European Union.

Allowing expelled Italians to return The competent authorities in Libya and Italy will determine these benefits.

The state of Libya will grant the same to Italian citizens banned from entering its territories for the purpose of tourism or work.

Finally, the two sides record that the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah states that there are no longer any reasons for disputes or conflicts with Italy about the past after the implementation of the clauses of this communique.

This communique was prepared and signed in Rome on 4th July 1998: For the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah, Umar Mustafa al-Muntasir, secretary of the General People's Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation (foreign minister).

For the Republic of Italy, Lamberto Dini, minister of foreign affairs.

Source: Libyan TV, Tripoli, in Arabic 1930 gmt 9 Jul 98 BBC NF Newsfile avg 2149090798

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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