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Italian PM to meet Libyan rebel leader Thursday

(Xinhua)

13:47, August 24, 2011

ROME, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi would meet Libyan rebel leader Mahmoud Jibril Thursday in Milan, Berlusconi's office confirmed Tuesday in a statement.

How to protect the interests of Italian companies in Libya would be top on the agenda of the meeting, according to a report by local news agency Ansa.

The report also said during the meeting guidelines of the relations between the two countries would be discussed.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini was quoted by local media as saying that once the legitimate new government has taken control of the whole Libya, all the trade agreements between Libya and other countries, including those with Italian businesses, would be revived.

Berlusconi once enjoyed close ties with Gaddafi before crisis hit the North Africa country this spring. Local media reported that Berlusconi was once opposed to participating in NATO air strikes against Gaddafi before he changed his mind in late April.

Libyan rebels Tuesday captured Muammar Gaddafi's Bab al-Azizya compound in capital Tripoli after heavy fighting and looted an armory inside the vast barracks, while the whereabouts of the embattled Libyan leader and his sons remain unknown to the moment.

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