Libya to pay half of debt to turkish contractors
In a meeting with Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan on Wednesday, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has pledged to take concrete steps to pay off a $20 billion Libyan construction debt to Turkish companies and said that his government was willing to "immediately pay" half of its debts to Turkish firms, but demanded more time to make the other half of the payment. "As Turkish companies come back to Libya to conduct businesses the payments will be done, but I request Turkish businessmen to see the issue in terms of the long-term benefits of Libya-Turkey relationships," Zeidan said. "Some Turkish firms suffered because of the war, and of course we want to pay any damages. However, Libya has just gone through a period of devastating war," Zeidan noted, adding, "We're very serious on the debt subject; we know what the problem is and are going to take it up seriously." For his part, Caglayan said that the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Libya was $3.4 billion and now they aim to increase it to $5 billion in 2013 and $10 billion in a couple of years. Expressing belief that Libya would overcome the transitional period easily, Caglayan said that Turkey's support to Libya would continue to the full extent and that Turkey would stand by Libya during its new term. "Turkish building contractors and Turkish business world stayed to the last minute during the revolution in Libya and after the revolution they were the first ones to get back and this structure will continue as well as the Turkish-Libyan friendship," Caglayan added. Zeidan was also received by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier in the day.