US embassy cable - 02ROME5337

ITALY-LIBYA: PM BERLUSCONI'S OCT. 28 VISIT TO TRIPOLI

Identifier: 02ROME5337
Wikileaks: View 02ROME5337 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rome
Created: 2002-10-31 08:48:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: ECON ENRG IT LY ENRG IT LY PREL UN
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ROME 005337 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/30/2012 
TAGS: ECON, ENRG, IT, LY, ENRG, IT, LY, PREL, UN 
SUBJECT: ITALY-LIBYA: PM BERLUSCONI'S OCT. 28 VISIT TO 
TRIPOLI 
 
REF: A. FBIS RESTON 282336ZOCT02 
     B. STATE 211463 
     C. ROME 5185 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: POL MC THOMAS COUNTRYMAN, FOR REASONS 1/5 (B) AND (D) 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: ITALIAN MFA SAYS THAT PM BERLUSCONI CONVEYED 
TO QADHAFI, AT OUR REQUEST, A STRONG MESSAGE ON THE NEED FOR 
LIBYA TO COMPLY FULLY WITH THE SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS 
REGARDING LOCKERBIE.  THE TWO SIDES FAILED TO REACH AGREEMENT 
ON A "COMPENSATION" PACKAGE THAT WOULD MAKE LIBYA DROP ITS 
COMPLAINTS ABOUT COLONIAL ITALIAN "CRIMES" AGAINST LIBYA. 
THE ATMOSPHERE WAS VERY POSITIVE, THOUGH FEW SPECIFIC 
AGREEMENTS WERE REACHED IN THE MANY AREAS OF COOPERATION 
DISCUSSED.  THE ITALIAN DELEGATION FOUND QADHAFI CALM AND 
MODERATE IN HIS DISCUSSION OF IRAQ AND THE 
ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN ISSUE.  END SUMMARY 
 
2. (U) PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI'S OCTOBER 28 ONE-DAY VISIT 
TO LIBYA WAS ONLY THE THIRD BY AN ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER 
SINCE QADHAFI CAME TO POWER.  UNLIKE PM D'ALEMA IN 1999, WHO 
WAS FORCED TO TOUR THE NATIONAL MUSEUM FOR THREE HOURS UNTIL 
QADHAFI WAS READY TO RECEIVE HIM, BERLUSCONI HAD A SMOOTH 
VISIT, INCLUDING TWO MEETINGS WITH QADHAFI AT BAB AL AZIZIA 
BARRACKS, AND A WORKING LUNCH WITH PRIME MINISTER MUBARAK 
SHAMAKH.  REF A CONTAINS THE TEXT OF THE JOINT COMMUNIQUE 
RELEASED BY THE TWO SIDES. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  05337  01 OF 02  310953Z 
3. (C) THE MFA'S NORTH AFRICA OFFICE DIRECTOR, ANTONIO 
BELLAVIA (WHO WENT ON THE TRIP BUT WAS NOT IN THE TWO 
MEETINGS WITH QADHAFI) BRIEFED POL MINCOUNS ON OCTOBER 30. 
BELLAVIA SAID THAT BERLUSCONI HAD PRESSED THE LIBYAN LEADER 
ON THE NEED TO COMPLY FULLY WITH THE UN RESOLUTIONS, AS 
REQUESTED REF B.  BERLUSCONI HAD TRIED TO SPIN THIS 
POSITIVELY WITH QADHAFI, EMPHASIZING THE POSITIVE RETURN TO 
TRIPOLI FROM BEING ABLE TO NORMALIZE ITS RELATIONS NOT ONLY 
WITH EUROPE, BUT WITH THE US.  ACCORDING TO BELLAVIA, THE 
LIBYAN LEADER WAS RECEPTIVE TO THE MESSAGE AND EMPHASIZED HIS 
READINESS TO MEET ALL OF LIBYA'S OBLIGATIONS AND PUT 
LOCKERBIE BEHIND THEM.  THE ITALIAN DELEGATION GOT THE 
IMPRESSION THAT THE ISSUE OF COMPENSATION WAS FAR LESS 
DIFFICULT FOR THE GOL THAN THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF 
RESPONSIBILITY.  FINDING THE RIGHT FORMULATION, BELLAVIA 
COMMENTED, WOULD REQUIRE REAL ART, BUT THIS WAS NOT DISCUSSED 
WITH THE LIBYANS.  POL MC ASKED ABOUT THE ITALIAN PRESS 
REPORTS THAT BERLUSCONI HAD OFFERED HIS GOOD OFFICES WITH THE 
USG.  BELLAVIA SAID THIS WAS A PRESS INVENTION. 
 
4. (C) AS NOTED REF C, THE GOI HAD HOPED THAT DURING THIS 
VISIT IT COULD FINALLY CLOSE LIBYA'S LONG-STANDING DEMAND FOR 
"COMPENSATION" FOR COLONIAL-ERA WRONGS BY ANNOUNCING THE 
FUNDING OF AN ORTHOPEDIC TREATMENT AND RESEARCH HOSPITAL IN 
BENGHAZI.  HOWEVER, THE LIBYAN SIDE RESURRECTED ITS 
PREFERENCE FOR A MORE EXPENSIVE PROJECT, A 60-MILLION EURO 
NORTH-SOUTH HIGHWAY.  THE TWO SIDES AGREED TO CONTINUE TO 
STUDY BOTH PROJECTS.  BELLAVIA SAID THE ITALIANS WILL 
PROBABLY KEEP THEIR PREFERENCE FOR THE HOSPITAL AS LESS 
EXPENSIVE AND MORE USEFUL. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        ROME  05337  01 OF 02  310953Z 
5. (C) BERLUSCONI ASKED QADHAFI ABOUT HIS INTENTION TO 
WITHDRAW FROM THE ARAB LEAGUE.  QADHAFI RESPONDED WITH A 
LITANY OF THE LEAGUE'S FAILURES TO ADDRESS THE REAL PROBLEMS 
OF THE REGION, FROM PALESTINE TO IRAQ.  THE ITALIAN 
DELEGATION FOUND QADHAFI'S RHETORIC TO BE CALMER THAN IN THE 
PAST.  FOR EXAMPLE, WHILE CRITICAL OF THE US INTENTION TO USE 
FORCE AGAINST IRAQ, HE MADE NO APOLOGIES FOR SADDAM AND 
INSISTED THAT BAGHDAD HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO COMPLY FULLY WITH 
THE DISARMAMENT RESOLUTIONS.  QADHAFI WAS ALSO CRITICAL OF 
THE BARCELONA PROCESS, SAYING THAT THIS DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE 
EU AND NORTH AFRICAN STATES DISTRACTED FROM WHAT HE 
CONSIDERED A MORE IMPORTANT DIALOGUE, THAT BETWEEN THE EU AND 
THE OAU.  STILL, HE AGREED THAT THE "5 ON 5" DIALOGUE COULD 
BE USEFUL FOR BUILDING COOPERATION AGAINST TERRORISM, 
ORGANIZED CRIME, AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.  BELLAVIA SAID THAT 
THESE LAST ISSUES WERE DISCUSSED IN GENERAL TERMS, BUT NO 
SPECIFIC AGREEMENT WAS REACHED.  (NOTE: SOME MEMBERS OF 
PARLIAMENT HAD PUBLICLY URGED BERLUSCONI BEFORE HIS TRIP TO 
PRESS LIBYA TO PROMISE TO ACT AGAINST ALIEN SMUGGLERS 
OPERATING FROM LIBYAN PORTS, WHO HAVE BECOME A MUCH GREATER 
PROBLEM FOR ITALY THAN THOSE OPERATING FROM THE ALBANIAN 
SHORE.) 
 
6. (C) BELLAVIA SAID THE OVERALL ATMOSPHERE WAS VERY WARM 
BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS.  BERLUSCONI WENT OUT OF HIS WAY WITH 
THE PRESS TO PRAISE QADHAFI'S EXPERIENCE AND THE POTENTIAL 
FOR IMPROVED ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL COOPERATION.  THE TWO 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2477 
 
PAGE 01        ROME  05337  02 OF 02  310953Z 
ACTION EUR-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AGRE-00  AID-00   AMAD-00  CEA-01   CIAE-00 
      COME-00  CTME-00  DINT-00  DODE-00  DOEE-00  DOTE-00  SRPP-00 
      DS-00    EAP-00   EB-00    EXIM-01  E-00     FAAE-00  FBIE-00 
      VC-00    FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    ITC-01 
      LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    NEA-00   NSAE-00  NSCE-00 
      OES-01   OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00 
      ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00   SP-00    SSO-00   SS-00    STR-00 
      TRSE-00  T-00     USIE-00  EPAE-00  PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-00 
      DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /013W 
                  ------------------013970  310953Z /38 
O 310848Z OCT 02 
FM AMEMBASSY ROME 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6689 
INFO AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 
AMEMBASSY CAIRO 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY TUNIS 
AMCONSUL FLORENCE 
AMCONSUL MILAN 
AMCONSUL NAPLES 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 ROME 005337 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/30/2012 
TAGS: ECON, ENRG, IT, LY, PREL 
SUBJECT: ITALY-LIBYA: PM BERLUSCONI'S OCT. 28 VISIT TO 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  05337  02 OF 02  310953Z 
TRIPOLI 
 
SIDES AGREED TO STUDY THE POSSIBILITY OF SIGNING A 
"FRIENDSHIP TREATY".  BELLAVIA SAID THIS IS STILL JUST A 
STUDY; NEITHER SIDE HAD PROPOSED A TEXT OR EVEN ELEMENTS OF A 
TREATY.  DESPITE THE POSITIVE SPIN, PRESS REPORTS SPECULATE 
THAT THE ITALIAN SIDE WAS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED BY THE FAILURE 
TO REACH AGREEMENT ON THE "COMPENSATION" PACKAGE. 
 
7. (U) PRESS ACCOUNTS ADD A FEW FACTOIDS TO THOSE PROVIDED BY 
THE MFA: 
-- NICE PRESENTS: BERLUSCONI PROMISED TO RETURN TO LIBYA IN 
THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE AN ANCIENT ROMAN STATUE, THE "VENUS OF 
CYRENE" TAKEN BY ITALIAN FASCIST TROOPS.  QADHAFI GAVE HIM AN 
ITALIAN MUSKET CAPTURED BY THE LIBYANS IN 1924. 
-- NO SPECIFIC AGREEMENTS, BUT MUCH DISCUSSION OF LIBYA 
UNBLOCKING CREDITS WORTH APPROXIMATELY 877 MILLION EUROS FOR 
ITALIAN COMPANIES DOING BUSINESS IN LIBYA, AND ADDITIONAL 
ITALIAN TECHNICAL HELP IN DEMINING IN LIBYA. 
-- BERLUSCONI REPORTEDLY STATED THAT ITALY DEPENDS ON LIBYA 
FOR SOME 25 PERCENT OF ITS ENERGY NEEDS, AND ADDED THAT THIS 
WOULD INCREASE TO AROUND 30 PERCENT ONCE A LIBYA-ITALY GAS 
PIPELINE COMES INTO OPERATION IN 2004. 
-- QADHAFI REPORTEDLY PROMISED TO GRANT VISAS TO THOSE 
ITALIANS WHO HE HAD EXPELLED IN 1970.  (COMMENT: THESE 
PARTICULAR ITALIAN CITIZENS ARE FEELING THE IRONY OF THE 
DIFFICULTY THEY NOW HAVE IN GETTING US VISAS BECAUSE OF THEIR 
BIRTH IN LIBYA.  WE RECENTLY MET WITH ONE JEWISH-ITALIAN BORN 
IN LIBYA WHO WAS RECENTLY ALLOWED TO VISIT TRIPOLI AND A 
GREAT-AUNT WHO HE THOUGHT WAS VIRTUALLY THE LAST JEWISH 
PERSON RESIDING IN LIBYA). 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  05337  02 OF 02  310953Z 
 
8. (U) EMBASSY EXPECTS TO GET A MORE DIRECT READOUT OF THE 
BILATERAL MEETING FROM HIGHER-RANKING PARTICIPANTS IN THE MFA 
AND PM'S OFFICE, AND WILL REPORT. 
SKODON 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 
 2002ROME05337 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL 


Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04