Italy is ready to discuss maritime delimitation with Libya, Italian Minister of Agricultural Policies, Stefano Patuanelli has confirmed.

The Italian minister said his government is to initiate a dialogue with the Libyan authorities in the context of delimiting the exclusive maritime zones -in reference to fishing off Libyan waters-, which remains a thorny file, as he put it.

"Concerning the very thorny issue related to fishing, I recall that the declaration by the Libyan party of the marine protected area is a legitimate matter in itself, as reported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," Patuanelli said in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday.

"Hence, we need to identify transitional tools urgently to ensure support for the fishermen and shipowners most directly affected by this situation."

The minister said he believes that Italy and Libya could conclude an interim agreement at the bilateral level, which would make it possible to define a method that would strengthen agreements between Italian and Libyan operators in the private sector and facilitate the granting of fishing licenses in protected areas.