Business is business: Libya opens door to Russian investments
WASHINGTON - Libyan interim Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib said Friday that Russian business is welcome in Libya and that Tripoli is ready to honor existing contracts but he regretted Moscow's role during the revolution.
"We wished that Russia would have felt what was going on in Libya during the eight months of the revolution," Kib said during a visit to the United States where he met President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"Are we happy with how Russia handled the situation? Respectfully, no," he said during an appearance at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank.
Russia sharply criticized the NATO-led military operation in Libya, saying it exceeded a UN Security Council resolution designed to protect the Libyan people against attacks by the forces of then Libyan leader Moamer Gathafi.
"Do we welcome Russia to come back and work on projects? Yes, as long as they don't serve the past regime and have no connections with it," Kib said.
"Do we honor contracts? I tell you yes, but after reviewing them. They have to be legal and we have to make sure that corruption was not a major part of it," the Libyan premier said.
In the years before Gathafi's ouster in August, Russia secured lucrative contracts in the oil industry, railroads and defense.
"This was a costly revolution, it wasn't easy. You (Russians) are welcome to come back. Keep in mind we don't want the past regime any more," Kib said.