Posted by: africanpressorganization | 2 November 2011

Libyans return home: “now we are free”: First Alitalia Rome-Tripoli flight departs


Libyans return home: “now we are free”: First Alitalia Rome-Tripoli flight departs


ROME, Italy, November 2, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Libyans return home: “now we are free”: First Alitalia Rome-Tripoli flight departs


“Now Libya is a free country and we are going home. We are very excited”. Kholoud, a 20+-year-old Misrata resident who speaks perfect English, wears a black headscarf with the Libyan flag on it, and has been away from home since May. She is one of the over 100 passengers going back to Tripoli today on Alitalia’s first flight in 8 months. With her are lots of smiling young people and children who all say they are “excited”. Flight number AZ 868 is carrying 110 passengers, mostly Libyan citizens with children going home after a long hiatus, but also a number of Italian and Libyan business persons and doctors. Some Libyans proudly wave their country’s new flag as they wait to board this MD 80 aircraft whose ETA is 15:00 local time. The first Alitalia flight out of the Tripoli airport is scheduled for 16:00 local time. “This resumption of Alitalia flights marks an important day”, explained Libyan doctor Ali before boarding, “this too is a sign of newfound freedom and we are very happy about it”. His Bulgarian colleague, Yavor, echoes his words: “I worked as an orthopedic doctor in Sabratha for 11 years and now I’m going back for a few days; I am very happy; it was important to reestablish connections as soon as possible, to give a further sign of a return to normalcy”. A sign that, along with the elections for the new premier, show that the country has undertaken a road to transition that should lead to a political future of solid democratic and representative institutions”.

Italy, which took part in the NATO-led coalition, carried out its role not least in consideration of a rich history of affinity, friendship and cooperation with the Libyan people. Italy, Minister Franco Frattini said in a message to newly elected Premier of the NTC Abdul Al Raheem Al Qeeb, will continue to support the NTC’s efforts with conviction, and those of all the other Libyan democratic forces aimed at the country’s successful transition and complete recovery.

Those relations of affinity and friendship with the Libyan people also allowed for a rich programme of cooperation initiatives both during the emergency and in the current reconstruction phase. The opening of the Italian Embassy in Tripoli was preceded and accompanied by other significant initiatives: on 22 May a Cooperation office opened in Benghazi, and in May and June the Cooperation participated in an international team whose task was to identify the sectors and priorities on which to structure the international community’s interventions in Libya in the immediate post-conflict phase.



Italy – Ministry of Foreign Affairs


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