Ambassador to Libya stresses ‘long-term plan’

South Korea needs a long-term, diversified plan to set up new diplomatic ties with Libya as it transitions from Moammar Gadhafi’s decades-long rule, Seoul’s top diplomat to the North African state said Friday.

“Economy should not be the only focus,” Cho Dae-sik, the South Korean ambassador to Libya, told reporters in Seoul. “We need a long-term strategy embracing various sectors to start new diplomatic relations (with Libya).”

Cho came to Seoul for a four-day meeting to discuss with related ministries and business groups plans for the post-Gadhafi era. The two countries first set up diplomatic relations 31 years ago under Gadhafi’s rule.

South Korea and other countries have been eyeing the possibility of opening up financial ties with Libya’s National Transitional Council, which is expected to lead the country, taking over after Gadhafi’s 42-year rule. Rich in oil and other natural resources, Libya will need help from outside construction firms to develop its resources.

Cho said he met representatives from 52 local firms during his stay in Seoul to share with them information on Libya.

Cho also stressed the need of humanitarian aid to help the hundreds of thousands of those hurt or missing during civil war in Libya. At least 25,000 people remain missing, he said, adding security remains unstable as of today. Korean construction companies sent $500,000 worth of relief supplies to Libya in August, following a separate $1 million aid by the government.

According to the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, Libya could become a $120 billion market for construction companies after the current unrest is settled.

(Source: The Korea Herald)

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