Aug 27 (Reuters) - Flush with petrodollars, Libya has been
buying stakes in Italian companies and disclosed other potential
investments in energy and infrastructure companies.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will visit Rome on Monday to
mark the second annual Libyan-Italian friendship day and for
talks with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Italy, which ruled Libya from 1911 to 1943, has had
difficult relations with Gaddafi since he seized power in 1969
but ties have warmed in recent years.
Here are some details of Italian relations with Libya:
* Italian forces landed in Libya in 1911, having declared
war on the Ottoman Empire which had established direct rule over
part of Libya the year before.
* During World War One Libyans resisted Italian rule under
the leadership of the Sanusiya dynasty and Umar al-Mukhtar. The
Italians were able to hold only the coastal towns of Tripoli,
Benghazi, Derna and Tobruk.
* In 1920, Italy recognised Muhammad Idris as the ruler of
the interior oases in an agreement known as the Accord of
al-Rajma. Two years later Count Volpi was appointed governor of
all Libya and in 1928 Marshal Badoglio became governor-general.
WAR THEN INDEPENDENCE:
* The Allied powers ended the rule of fascist Italy over
Libya by 1943 and it was divided between France and Britain.
* Libya became independent under King Idriss in 1951. He was
overthrown on Sept. 1, 1969, by Muammar Gaddafi and nationalist
officers who staged a bloodless military coup while the king was
in Turkey. The monarchy was abolished.
RECENT RELATIONS - UPS AND DOWNS:
* Italy has remained Libya's main European trading partner,
and imports about 25 percent of its oil and 33 percent of its
gas from the north African country, where it has a strong
* Italy was at the forefront of the improvement in the
West's ties with Tripoli since it announced in December 2003
that it would stop trying to acquire nuclear, chemical and
* An Italian minister resigned from the Berlusconi
government in 2006 after wearing a T-shirt with a Danish cartoon
of the Prophet Mohammad which angered Muslims worldwide. He was
blamed for rioting that broke out at Italy's consulate in the
Libyan city of Benghazi.
* The growing number of illegal immigrants crossing from
Libya's coast to southern Italy has affected bilateral ties in
recent years. In December 2007, Italy and Libya signed an accord
to conduct joint sea patrols to crack down on human trafficking.
* In August 2008, Berlusconi signed a landmark deal in
Benghazi under which Italy was to pay $5 billion in compensation
for its colonial misdeeds during its rule of the North African
country. "In this historic document, Italy apologises for its
killing, destruction and repression against Libyans during the
colonial rule," Gaddafi said.
* Gaddafi ended a first visit to Italy in July 2009 by
inviting Italians expelled after his 1969 revolution to return
to the North African country. In his role as African Union
chairman, he was attending a G8 summit at the earthquake hit
town of L'Aquila.
Sources: Reuters/Europa Publications
(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;
editing by Andrew Dobbie)