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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said Italy will free $505 million in Libyan assets that are being held in Italian banks, according to AP.Berlusconi was reported to be meeting the head of Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council today. Mahmuod Jibril, the face of the National Transitional Council was reportedly seeking to secure the release of frozen Libyan assets.
Berlusconi meanwhile was expected to discuss ways of securing Italian business interests in Libya once the conflict has ended. He was also expected to broach the topic of re-opening Italian oil and gas group ENI’s operations in Libya which were shut down after the civil unrest began.
ENI is expected to sign a deal in Benghazi on Monday, to supply a large amount of gas and petrol without payment to meet immediate needs, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, rebels have intensified their efforts to oust Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi offering a $1.7 million bounty for his capture. They have also pushed towards his hometown of Sirte after intense fighting broke out in Tripoli earlier this week. The four Italian journalists who were held in Libya have also been released.