China asks Libya to compensate for companies' losses

Updated: 2012-03-07 14:48


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BEIJING - Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said Wednesday China has requested Libya to compensate Chinese firms that suffered losses during the country's civil war.

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session, Chen said that according to international law and practice, China requires the Libyan authorities to properly handle the issue of Chinese firms' heavy losses in Libya's civil war and give compensation to these firms.

Chen added that China has no investment in Libya, but only construction projects, particularly the civil housing projects worth more than $10 billion. These projects, already completed or close to completion, were under artillery attack and suffered heavy losses during the war.

Chen said according to an evaluation by a group including officials from the ministry and some entrepreneurs that had been sent to Libya recently, Chinese firms cannot go back to the country at the moment for security reasons.

He promised to return to the projects if the security situation meet requirements.

After large-scale anti-Gaddafi protests broke out in February last year, China safely evacuated almost all its nationals, most of them construction workers and engineers, more than 35,000 in total.

Chen said the construction sites are now being protected only by a few Chinese nationals. However, most of the sites are guarded by local residents.