By Nigel Ash.
Tripoli, 10 February 2013:
A Turkish minister is bringing a large business delegation to Libya with the prime purpose of organising the settlement of some $20 billion in outstanding contract payments and compensation.
Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and his party will be in Tripoli for just one day, during which he is scheduled to meet President of the General National Congress Mohamed Magarief and Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. Caglayan will then go on to separate meetings with his Libyan counterpart Mustafa Mohammed Abufunas, Housing Minister Ali Hussein Al-Sharif, Finance Minister Dr Alkilani Abdel-Qadir Al-Jazi and Transport Minister Abdel-Qader Mohamed Ahmed.
The Turkish economy ministry has said that agreements to set up a free-trade zone and to prevent double taxation along with trade relations, industry and tourism are to be on the agenda. However, a Turkish source told the Libya Herald this evening that the talks would be dominated by Ankara’s impatience over the lack of progress in the settlement of claims for $20 billion in outstanding payments and compensation, made by some 100 Turkish companies. Only a handful of claims has so far been settled, said the source. The delay was holding up Turkish participation in new, most especially infrastructure projects.
In his crowded day, Caglayan will also find time to address a meeting of the Turkish-Libyan Business Forum, which will be attended by many of the business executives that have travelled with him.