S. Korea says Libya to compensate firms after riot

AFP , Monday 24 Jan 2011

Damages caused during rioting in January are currently estimated at some $40m, according to Korean foreign ministry official

Libya has promised to pay compensation for damage to South Korean construction firms during rioting around the country earlier this month, Seoul's foreign ministry said Monday.

It said hundreds of Libyans raided four South Korean-run construction sites on 14-15 January, destroying heavy equipment and setting vehicles and facilities on fire. One South Korean official was injured.

"The Libyan government has expressed its willingness to make compensation," a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

Through its embassy in Libya, South Korea will soon start assessing the damage, which is estimated at about 45bn won ($40m), he said.

The riot was prompted by a senior Tripoli official's remarks that homes being built by foreign firms belong to the Libyan people and that they have the right to live in those homes, Yonhap news agency said.

About 100 residents are still occupying one construction site but police are trying to persuade them to leave, it said.

South Korean companies have worked on hundreds of construction projects in Libya since 1978. Ties soured after Libya expelled a South Korean intelligence agent last June for allegedly trying to collect information on leader Muammar Gaddafi, his family and leading bureaucrats.

Libya suspended operations at its de facto embassy in Seoul but the countries resolved the feud four months later.

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