France confirms major arms deal with Libya

3rd August 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 3, 2007 (AFP) - Libya has reached a multi-million dollar deal to buy anti-tank missiles and radio systems from the European aerospace giant EADS, in what would be the first such purchase since an arms embargo was lifted on Tripoli in 2004.

PARIS, Aug 3, 2007 (AFP) - Libya has reached a multi-million dollar deal to buy anti-tank missiles and radio systems from the European aerospace giant EADS, in what would be the first such purchase since an arms embargo was lifted on Tripoli in 2004.

French Defence Minister Herve Morin confirmed Friday that a letter of intent had been signed for the sale of Milan anti-tank missiles and a radio communications system worth, according to a Libyan official, 396 million euros (405 million dollars).

The deal is likely to spark some controversy, coming so soon after France played a key role in brokering the release of six foreign medics sentenced to life imprisonment in Libya.

Sarkozy, who travelled to Tripoli a day after the medics' were freed, has denied that their release was linked to any arms deal.

However, Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's son, Saif ul-Islam Kadhafi, said resolution of the medics' case had paved the way for the signing of major arms contracts, and the leader of the opposition Socialist Party in France, Francois Hollande, called for a parliamentary enquiry into the deal.

"If there was no exchange, if there was no bartering, why sign a military agreement with the Kadhafi regime, which has been responsible for terrorist acts, which has been a rogue state?" Hollande said.

The Libyan purchases were agreed with subsidiaries of the European aerospace and defence giant EADS, which is controlled by French and German public and private interests.

EADS confirmed Friday that it had "finalised" a deal for the Milan anti-tank missiles.

The company said in a statement that the deal had been secured after 18 months of negotiations and was now "waiting the signature of the Libyan client".

The sale of the Tetra communications system, was still in the process of being finalised, it added.

AFP

Subject: French news

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