French ministers in Libya to discuss cooperation in oil sector
Two French ministers were en route to Libya Monday to discuss a possible Libyan takeover of a troubled French oil refinery, dpa reported.
The French Foreign Ministry said the visit by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and his counterpart in charge of industry, Productive Recovery Minister Arnaud Montebourg, aimed to show France's support for Libya's democratic transition.
Fabius will address the General National Congress - the first foreign official to address Libya's parliament, according to his office - and meet with Libyan President Mohammed Megarief and Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, his office said.
But the visit, which also includes meetings with Libya's oil and industry ministers, looked to have a business agenda first and foremost.
France has close ties to Libya's new authorities, as the country which led the diplomatic campaign for international intervention in support of the rebels who ousted dictator Moamer Gaddafi.
Montebourg told Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper Sunday that France was studying an offer by the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) for France's troubled Petroplus refinery.
The refinery in Normandy has been placed under legal protection after Swiss parent company Petroplus filed for insolvency.
Montebourg, who is trying to stem a wave of bankruptcies, said France's Strategic Investment Fund could team up with the LIA as a minority partner "in profitable projects."
"This investment on French soil could also be reciprocated on Libyan soil," he added.