Cecilia Sarkozy says only medical aid offered Libya for Bulgarian medics

4th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

NANCY, France, Sept 4, 2007 (AFP) - France's first lady Cecilia Sarkozy said in an interview published Tuesday that France had only offered medical aid in exchange for the release of Bulgarian medics held in Libya.

NANCY, France, Sept 4, 2007 (AFP) - France's first lady Cecilia Sarkozy said in an interview published Tuesday that France had only offered medical aid in exchange for the release of Bulgarian medics held in Libya.

The glamorous first lady made headlines in July when she stepped in as personal envoy for her husband President Nicolas Sarkozy for the final stage of negotiations on the medics' release in Tripoli.

She escorted them home after the end of their eight-year prison ordeal on charges of infecting children with the AIDS virus. For most of that time they had been under death sentences.

"As far as I'm concerned, there was only medical compensation" for the freeing of the Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian-born doctor, Cecilia Sarkozy told the regional daily l'Est republicain.

Last month the opposition Socialist Party demanded that the 49-year-old former PR executive report to a parliamentary inquiry into a possible trade-off between the medics' release and a French-Libyan arms deal struck the same week.

She told the newspaper: "I offered the Benghazi hospital doctors to train their Palestinian counterparts, equipment, AIDS treatment and quick visas so that urgent cases could come to France for treatment."

The first lady, who said she was "shocked" by the way some media treated "a human drama and the suffering of women, children and families," indicated that she did not intend to appear before the parliamentary inquiry.

She explained her success by saying she arrived in Libya "as a woman, as a mother, without necessarily dwelling on the complexity of international relations, but with the firm intention of saving lives."

France and Libya were forced to deny a trade-off between the medics' release and a deal for Tripoli to purchase anti-tank missiles from the European aerospace giant EADS, in which France is the top public stakeholder.

AFP

Subject: French news

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