France-Libya deal includes military hardware

30th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 30, 2007 (AFP) - France intends to sell military hardware to Libya and train up its special forces as part of a confidential defence accord struck with Tripoli last month, a French newspaper reported Wednesday.

PARIS, Aug 30, 2007 (AFP) - France intends to sell military hardware to Libya and train up its special forces as part of a confidential defence accord struck with Tripoli last month, a French newspaper reported Wednesday.

Le Canard Enchaine, an investigative and satirical weekly, published a facsimile of the agreement, which was announced following the release of six foreign medics convicted of infecting Libyan children with the AIDS virus, but whose details were kept under wraps.

The accord was followed days later by the announcement of military contracts with European defence firm EADS, forcing President Nicolas Sarkozy to deny that France traded a promise of arms sales for the medics' release.

According to the Canard Enchaine, the 12-point cooperation accord provides for the exchange of information and expertise, as well as the "acquisition of various defence equipments and systems" and the "protection of common investments in the area of defence".

It also mentions the "possibility of carrying out joint military manoeuvres" and the "training of special military units, special forces and border patrol units".

Contacted by AFP, the French defence ministry declined to comment on the report, while a foreign ministry spokesman said it was "not usual practice for the contents of such agreements to be made public".

Following the lifting of a European arms embargo in 2004, the Canard Enchaine reported that Libya was planning to acquire fighter and transport jets, border surveillance equipment, a full range of military vehicles, ships and air defence systems.

AFP

Subject: French news

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