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$5-billion deal signed with Libya

August 31, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Italy agreed to pay Libya $5 billion as compensation for its 30-year occupation of the country, which ended in 1943.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi signed a memorandum pledging a $5-billion compensation package that included construction projects, student grants and pensions for Libyan soldiers who served with the Italians during World War II.

"It is a material and emotional recognition of the mistakes that our country has done to yours during the colonial era," Berlusconi told reporters on his arrival. "This agreement opens the path to further cooperation."

In return, Italy wants Libya to crack down on the thousands of illegal migrants smuggled across the Mediterranean to Italian shores. Italy will fund $500 million worth of electronic monitoring devices on the Libyan coastline.

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