The French President has taken time out from his summer holiday in the US to deny any connection between Libya’s recent release of six foreign medics and an arms deal with the European defence group EADS. Nicolas Sarkozy was forced to address controversy raging back home over the timing of the agreement.
“The international embargo was lifted in 2004, the contracts were under negotiation for 18 months, they were authorised by every national and international commission and Libya will spend several hundred million euros keeping French factories in business. Should I apologise for that?” he asked reporters.
The EADS deal came just days after Libya agreed to release the medics who had been held for eight years, accused of infecting Libyan children with HIV. Sarkozy himself visited Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi in Tripoli the day after the group were freed. Gadaffi’s son Saif al-Islam, has also said the timing of the deals was a coincidence.