It was a hero’s welcome for Nicolas Sarkozy in Sofia today as he met the Bulgarian medics he helped free from Libya in July.
On a visit to Bulgaria as part of a European tour, the French President was greeted with open arms by the five nurses and one doctor.
He was also awarded the nation’s highest order, the Stara Planina medal.
Sentenced to death on accusations of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV, the medics had already spent eight years in prison when they were freed on July 24.
French first lady Cecilia Sarkozy decided not to join her husband on this trip in order to avoid reviving controversy over her role in the case. She was sent repeatedly to Libya as a presidential envoy.
The day after the release, special arms and nuclear deals were struck between Paris and Tripoli.
Sarkozy denies accusations by the opposition there was any link. A parliamentary inquiry has been launched into the case.