Italy has renewed its ties with its former colonial vassal Libya, just days before celebrations for the anniversary of the coup which brought Colonel Gaddafi to power. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi arrived in Tripoli as one of the few Western leaders to attend Tuesday’s events. Others turned down invitations because of Scotland’s controversial release of the Lockerbie bomber. But Berlusconi brought some good news: Italy is to fund a new motorway in Libya, and the Italian premier had the honour of laying the first stone.
Preparations are well-underway for the coup anniversary. It was on September 1st 1969 that a group of middle-ranking army officers led by then-Captain Muammar Gaddafi sent King Indris into exile and declared the Libyan Arab Republic. A lavish performance will entertain the crowds, and a 120-metre stage will fill with water to re-create the Mediterranean Sea.