ROME (Reuters) - Italy expects contracts held by Italian companies in Libya will be respected by a new government that takes over if rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Tuesday.
Italy's interests in its former colony stretch from oilfields to multibillion-euro contracts in defense and construction sectors.
"They've agreed to honor all contracts, including those with Italian companies, undertaken by Libya," Frattini told Italian radio, referring to the Benghazi-based rebel council. "Italy's contracts are with Libya, not with Gaddafi."
Once Gaddafi's closest European ally, Rome has been aggressively courting the rebels since backing them in April. Frattini said he had already agreed with the rebel council on broad cooperation between the two sides. (Reporting by Deepa Babington; editing by David Stamp)