In a congratulatory statement on behalf of his country on the first anniversary of Libya's February 17 pro-democracy uprising,Canada's foreign affairs minister John Baird said Libya has a partner in Canada, as the country continues to make strides to provide greater opportunities for its people.
He went on to say: “In just one year, the Libyan people have realised a dramatic transformation in their country. Although there is much work to be done, Libyans have laid the foundation to build a more inclusive, open and democratic society.”
“The upcoming elections, expected in June, will provide a historic opportunity to continue that work. The courage and sacrifice of the Libyan people secured a better and brighter future for themselves and their fellow citizens. They turned the page on a brutal, repressive dictator who ruled their country and tormented the Libyan people for over 40 years,” Mr Baird added:
“Canada is proud to have played a leading role in the UN-sanctioned NATO mission that helped protect civilians during the liberation of Libya,” Mr Baird said.
Libya Friday began celebrating the first anniversary of the uprising that eventually ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi from power after 42 years of an iron-fist rule, with fireworks, thousands of Libyan citizens in different cities chanting slogans and waving the flag that has become a symbol of the country’s new freedom.
Most of the celebrations is centred on the eastern city of Benghazi, the birthplace of the February 17 Revolution, and though the country is still far from stable four months after the liberation from the clutches of the former brutal regime
Weeks after the first spark of the revolution, backed by NATO, the then rebels managed to topple Gaddafi and the country is now trying to rebuild and use to the full the new-found freedom.
Fresh check-points in the capital Tripoli, Benghazi, the eastern birthplace of the uprising, the western port city of Misurata and other towns to deter any Gaddafi loyalists still in circulation from distorting the celebrations.
Libya's new rulers are organising official celebrations at a national level as a mark of respect for the thousands of people killed in the bloody conflict that saw Gaddafi captured and slain on October 20. But spontaneous commemorations began nationwide in cities and towns led by residents of Benghazi, the city that first rose against Gaddafi.
Men, women and children came out on the streets of Tripoli, Benghazi, Misurata and other towns to take part initial celebrations as of Thursday by setting off fire crackers and chanting slogans.
On Friday, Benghazi residents organised a function to formally celebrate the anniversary, which is to be attended by Libya's new leaders, led by National transitional Council chairman Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, and interim prime minister Abdurrahim el-Keeb and other members of the interim government and foreign and local dignitaries.
Abdul-Jalil warned that the revolutionary spirt of Libya and its stability will not be compromised in any way. “We opened our arms to all Libyans, whether they supported the revolution or not. But this tolerance does not mean we are incapable of dealing with the stability of our country,” he said in a television address late on Thursday.
“We will be tough towards people who threaten our stability. The thuwar (revolutionaries) are ready to respond to any attack aimed at destabilising" the country, Abdul-Jalil said.
Expressing joy at the revolution, the happy people of Libya have been saying all along, they are celebrating freedom for the first time. It seems that although they are still far from achieving all that they are aiming for, that there are still challenges to face, and rowdy militias to tame, there is joy everywhere.
Over 50,000 people are estimated to have been killed or wounded in the conflict, the country's vital oil production ground to a halt, and homes, businesses, factories, schools and hospitals were devastated.
The challenges facing Libya's new rulers are manifold, including rebuilding an ageing and damaged infrastructure, and the cities that bore the brunt of the fighting, fostering vibrant state institutions, tackling a corrupt economy and boosting what are weak health, judicial and educational systems.
The new rulers also need to control the tens of thousands of ex-rebels who have now turned into powerful and rival militias, who regularly clash with each other and cause fatalities. The have emerged as the biggest security threat for Libya as human rights groups and accuse them of torturing their prisoners, most of whom are former pro-Gaddafi fighters.
Meanwhile, prime minister el-Keeb has acknowledged that integrating these militias into security services is a "complex" issue, but on Thursday said that about 5,000 of them had been integrated into the security services.
Italian prime minister Mario Monti arrived in the Libyan capital, Tripoli Saturday to revive a treaty of friendship and to offer his nation's expertise in training police in the country that after an eight-month revolution emerged from the dictatorial rule of Muammar Gaddafi.
On his first visit to Libya since the ousting of Gaddafi, Monti is leading a delegation of high-ranking officials, including foreign minister Giulio Terzi and Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola.
Monti is expected to hold talks with Libya's new leaders, including the head of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, and interim prime minister Abdurrahim el-Keeb. He is also expected to sign a series of bilateral agreements, including one that will offer Italy's services in training the police force of the new Libya.
During his sty in Libya, Monti, who has taken over the premiership of Italy, Libya's country's former colonial power, from Silvio Berlusconi, will also open a consulate in Libya and Libyan sources said, will hand over the sculpted head of the first century Domitilla Minor, which was smuggled from the Libyan town of Sabratha in the 1960s and recently auctioned at Christie's.
The Italian premier's visit is also to focus on reviving a friendship treaty between Italy and Libya that was signed between Berlusconi and Gaddafi, that was suspended during last year's conflict.
Monti is reciprocating the visit the head of the NTC Mustafa Abdul-Jalil made to Rome last month to discuss the treaty that was signed by Gaddafi and Berlusconi, that helped ease the way for billions of euros (dollars) in two-way investments.
Italy also agreed to pay Libya five billion euros over 25 years in compensation for colonial rule and included the construction of around 1,700 kilometres of coastline motorway in Libya. Under the treaty, more than 180 Italian businesses took advantage of the favourable terms for trade links in Libya.
The head of ENI, that became the biggest foreign energy producer in Libya, and, sources say, has signed a memorandum of understanding for undertaking social projects worth 380 million euros, is also accompanying Monti's delegation.
The Italian premier's visit also comes at a time, when, according to Dow Jones Newswires, the Libyan Central Bank has decided to refrain from participating in a planned recapitalisation of Italian bank UniCredit. Down Jones has reported that the Libyan central bank's current holding of 4.9 percent of the capital in UniCredit would be cut to around 2.7 percent.
Rome had unblocked funds frozen when Gaddafi was running Libya so that the central bank could take part in UniCredit's capital increase worth a total 7.5 billion euros ($9.7 billion), as it was initially expected to do, reports.
Monti's visit is expected to follow next month with another high-level Italian delegation.
Mohamad Syala, the director general of Libya’s Cooperation Department of the People’s Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation, has been quoted saying that the volume of trade between Libya and France in 2010 amounted to $4billion.
The Libyan exports mainly include crude oil and petroleum products and petrochemicals. The Libyan imports from France include machinery and equipment, generators and some food items.
According to Syala, French companies are implementing projects worth $27billion in Libya.
Italian Energy Company Eni SpA has agreed to help Libya build a naval port, desalizization plant and 1,000 houses in the EI Agheila area along the Gulf of Sirte.
Eni Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni signed on 20 December the MOU during a weekend ceremony in Tripoli, the energy company said in a statement.
The memorandum outlines the undisclosed terms for construction of a shipping port and related infrastructure, a water desalination plant and 1,000 houses in an area near the Gulf of Sidra.
The Italian company said it signed a memorandum in 2006 with the Gaddafi Development foundation and Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp. to help build an “innovative program of social projects” in the country.
Eni, Italy’s largest natural gas and oil company, is the biggest foreign palyer in Libya in terms of hydrocarbon production.
Eni said the agreement was part of a 2006 deal with the Libyans to invest in social projects such as building hospitals, preserving archaeological sites and training Libyan graduates.
Italy and Libya have long had good ties, which were sealed with a 2008 “friendship treaty” in which Italy agreed to pay Tripoli $5 billion for its 30-years occupation.
El Agheila is 2180 kilometeres (175 miles) west of Benghazi
Libya signed last week a contract with Italian consulting companies whereby they will undertake management, supervising and consulting services related to the construction of the new highway linking Libyan boarders from east to west.
The length of highway will be linking Ras Jdair crossing with Tunisia and Imsaad on the eastern border with Egypt is 1700 Kilometers.
The project which is financed by the Italian government as part of its compensation of the Libyan people for its colonialization of the country in the last centuries part of the Partnership, Friendship and Cooperation Agreement signed by Libya and Italy two years ago.
The signing ceremony was attended by senior Libyan and Italian officials as well as a number of experts from both parties.
Libya’s Secretary of Cooperation Affairs with the Libyan foreign affairs department Mohammed Siala said the signing of the contract represented consolidation of Libyan-Italian relations.
The secretary highway of high specifications and quality agreed upon with the costs of €125m (one hundred and twenty five million Euros).
Siala said “I would like to congratulate the Leader of the Revolution and the Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi for their sharp vision and courageous decision to link the bonds of cooperation between the two peoples and turn the page the notorious past. We hope to be at the level of their aspirations for their sharp vision”.
The Italian Ambassador to Tripoli said this period is among the greatest historical eras witnessed by the Libyan-Italian cooperation. The new highway, the ambassador said, would be a major landmark of cooperation between the two countries and forget the painful past.
Libya will bankroll most of a 116 billion Egyptian pounds real estate project launched jointly with Egypt’s housing ministry to offer homes for millions of young Egyptians, according to media reports.
Libya would provide 78 percent of the capital for the 5,600 acre al-Fateh city on the outskirts of Cairo to be built over the next twenty years, while Egypt will pay the rest, said Abdel-Hamid Shaer, media advisor at the Egyptian Housing Ministry, as quoted by Reuters on Wednesday 15 Dec.
“Our Libyan brothers have proposed to build this project over six phases over the course of the next twenty years to house our young,”Shaer said. “The project will also help the new Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) in developing land”.
The Libyan Company for Investments showed NUCA a proposal for the city, which will include residential and commercial, unites as well as a planned tropical garden and theme park.
A 2004-2008 property boom that provided homes for the wealthy elite helped Egypt weather a global downturn, Reuters reported. Analysts say developers need to switch to middle class property to keep revenue flowing.
The government is under pressure to provide housing for young people in Egypt, where lacking a home is seen as a major obstacle to marriage.
A Turkish company will construct the biggest football stadium of North Africa in Tripoli. “Ronesans Holding” and its Austrian partner PORRAG will construct the stadium in Tripoli, the capital city of Libya.
The stadium will be ready for African Nations Cup in 2013. The 200 million euro project will have a capacity of 50 thousand seats and will be constructed in line with UEFA standards. The stadium will have a parking area for 10,000 vehicles. The roof of the stadium will be built on three steel arches rising 100 meters to symbolize the ancient cities of Oea, Leptis Magna and Sabratha.
Kamil Yanikomeroglu, Chairman of Ronesand Holding Real Estate Group, said the due date of the stadium was 2013, however noted that they promised that they would conclude the construction till December 12, 2012 the time when a friendly match will be played between Libya and Brazil.
Yanikomeroglu said the stadium would be the biggest and most modern stadium of North Africa. He side Ronesans Holding entered Libyan market 2.5 years ago, adding that, “Our business volume in Libya amounted to 2 billion USD. We are planning to double it in two years”. (World bulletin).
Libya signed a contract worth of $ 227million dollars in Rome for the establishment of the Aqeelah project area for the implementation of 1000 housing units with all facilities to service the desalination plant for water and construction of a seaport with the latest technologies.
The contract was signed in the presence of the General Secretary of People's committee Dr. Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi and the General Commissioner of the company Annie Skeroni Paulo and the Libyan Ambassador in Italy.
The General Secretary of the Privatization and Investment Board declared yesterday 6th Dec, 2010 in Tripoli, that the first phase of investment in Libya began in 2007 and ending in 2011, indicating that Libya spent on this stage about (125) billion dinars on infrastructure, both in the construction of housing, roads and airports and that the second phase of investment will begin in 2012 and for the next five years Libya will spend the same amount on the development of infrastructure.
The "Boo" Austrian group mentioned that they won the tender to build the stadium deal worth 200 million Euros.
The group explained that they will cooperate in building this project with a Turkish and a Libyan company.
As they confessed that the new stadium which will have a capacity of 50 thousand spectators will be the largest in Libya.
In addition, they also stated that the roof would be hung on three steel arches rise 100 meters to symbolize the old three Romanian cities in Libya, and Oya, Sabratha and Leptis Magna.
Libya plans to build another stadium in the city of Benghazi in order to host the finals.