Italy to unfreeze $505 million in Libyan assets

MILAN

Berlusconi described the planned release as a first tranche. Italy has not disclosed the total Libyan assets held in Italy, Libya's former colonial ruler and biggest trading partner.

Berlusconi made the announcement following a meeting Thursday with the leader of Libya's rebel Cabinet on the second stop of a European diplomatic tour aimed at securing the release of billions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets.

The Libyan opposition says they urgently need at least $5 billion in frozen assets to pay state salaries, maintain vital services and repair critical oil facilities.

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