German opposition to French-Libyan nuclear deal unabated

29th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

BERLIN, July 29, 2007 (AFP) - German opposition mounted Saturday to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's new venture on the world stage in agreeing to build a nuclear reactor in Libya, despite efforts by Paris to reassure Berlin.

BERLIN, July 29, 2007 (AFP) - German opposition mounted Saturday to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's new venture on the world stage in agreeing to build a nuclear reactor in Libya, despite efforts by Paris to reassure Berlin.

The French government on Friday had sought to allay German fears of "recklessness" by assuring Berlin that all guarantees had been taken with regard to nuclear non-proliferation.

The French-Libyan accord, which envisions building a nuclear reactor for a water desalination plant, is "a bitter pill for the EU," said Ruprecht Polenz, conservative head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag, in the newspaper Tagesspiegel am Sonntag.

Polenz said the deal that Sarkozy signed Wednesday in Tripoli would weaken the European Union's ability to take action in foreign politics.

In addition, Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, "a dictator with unlimited powers", remains a "security risk for all those who have anything to do with his country," Polenz said.

The German lawmaker added that in light of the ongoing conflict with Iran  over its nuclear programme, it was "very naive to now give Kadhafi such an advantage, compared to Tehran."

The only guarantee "that uranium will not be used for military purposes in the country" is that Libya is supposed to return to France all used fuel, he said.

German officials were also opposed to the deal on environmental grounds, as Germany has a strong anti-nuclear lobby and plans to phase out nuclear power by 2020.

Before finalising the deal with Libya, "France must immediately consult   with the European Union, Germany and the IAEA," referring to the UN nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency, said German Eurodeputy Elmar Brok in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.

Sarkozy signed the memorandum on building a nuclear reactor the day after Tripoli freed six foreign medics from jail after an eight-year ordeal. Sarkozy's wife Cecilia had participated in the final negotiations.

Brok also commented on that saying the medics' release "was not due to the work of the Sarkozy family alone but also the concerted effort of all the European Union."


AFP

Subject: German news, French news

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