The European Union executive on Wednesday proposed launching talks on closer political and economic ties with Libya this year as part of a drive to boost relations with key energy suppliers.
A negotiating mandate proposed by the European Commission includes provision for a free trade agreement and cooperation in areas including energy, control of illegal migration, transport, education, environment and culture, a Commission statement said.
"This is a historic decision. Libya is an important player in the Mediterranean region and in Africa, and so far has no framework for relations with the EU," EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said in the statement.
"I am confident that the agreement will create solid and long lasting relations between Libya and the EU," she said.
Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said the EU aimed for an "ambitious" free trade agreement with Libya.
"Together with our support for Libya's bid to join the World Trade Organisation, these negotiations represent a vital first push forward in Libya's re-integration into the world trading system," he said in the statement.
A mandate for the Commission to negotiate with Libya on behalf of the bloc has to be approved by the EU's 27 member states.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Şubat 2008, 18:36