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Speculation over French arms deal with Libya

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Speculation over French arms deal with Libya


The son of the Libya’s Muammar Gadaffi has given a controversial interview to a leading French newspaper and caused a political storm for France’s new president. Saif al-Islam has implied that the recent release of six foreign medics imprisoned in Tripoli was secured by an arms deal with France. Nicolas Sarkozy has agreed an accord on defence and signed an understanding for a nuclear energy deal. They were clinched when he went to Libya last week after helping to free the Bulgarian nurses. But Gadaffi’s son, Islam, has suggested the two things are closely linked including a French sale of anti-tank missiles.

In Paris, journalists have been pursuing Nicolas Sarkozy asking if the two were connected? He responded with a definite “Non”. The EU lifted its arms embargo on Libya in 2004 but it has effectively remained in place – until now.

Islam has also said that the case was connected to rumours that the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing would be extradited to Libya. Abdel Basset al-Megrahi is currently being held in a Scottish prison. Britain has admitted it is working on a general judicial agreement with Tripoli including prisoner transfer but denies it will affect al-Megrahi.

Officially the release of the foreign medics – held for eight years for allegedly infecting Libyan children with HIV was achieved after funds were set up for the victims’ families. Gadaffi’s son says now their case is sorted out, new opportunities were arising.

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