31 MAY 2011
During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s African safari, India forged a new bonding with war-torn Libya — much of it away from the limelight — while exploring new investment opportunities and strengthening ties with other African nations.
So overwhelmed was Libyan Foreign Minister Abdal al Latti al Obedi, that he reportedly told External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, “Our brothers (friendly Arab and African countries) didn’t help as much as you did for us!”
New Delhi officially endorsed the African Union’s (AU’s) stand of calling for an immediate ceasefire and a political solution through peaceful means and dialogue for peace in Libya, a country that has annual bilateral trade of $844.62 million with India.
But behind the scene, there were more efforts during the African Union (AU)-India Summit to stand beside Libya in its hour of crisis.
Top official sources told Business Standard that New Delhi had to intervene to even secure hotel bookings for the Libyan delegation in Addis Ababa, the seat of AU. “Initially many hotels were scared to host the Libyan leaders. We finally managed to get them rooms in Hilton Hotel,” said an official.
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