Libya rebels dismiss report they promised France oil

1st September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Libya's new rebel government dismissed a claim Thursday that it had promised France control of 35 percent of the country's oil production, rubbishing a purported letter from their government.

As world leaders gathered in Paris to welcome the National Transitional Council into the international fold, the French daily Liberation published what it said was a letter from the rebels to the Emir of Qatar.

In it, Liberation said, the "Popular Front for the Liberation of Libya" tells the emir that it had struck a deal "to assign 35 percent of crude oil to France in exchange for its total and permanent support of our Council."

But the NTC's ambassador in Paris, Mansur Seif al-Nasr, told AFP he had never heard of the "Popular Front" that apparently issued the letter, and added: "All documents, all valid treaties are signed by the NTC."

In support of its report, Liberation printed an image of the letter, which it said was dated April 3.

The leadership of the revolt was already known as the National Transitional Council (NTC) on April 3. An Internet search for the "Popular Front for the Liberation of Libya" finds only references to the letter.

This image appears to be of a document that has been circulating on the Internet among opponents of French intervention in Libya since the first week of April without attracting the attention of professional media.

References to the text of the letter appear in Internet discussion forums from as early as April 3, when it was supposedly written.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said he "had no knowledge" of any deal to secure Libyan oil.

© 2011 AFP

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