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Friday, August 03, 2007

Libya Getting Powerful Anti-Tank Missels from France

Libya close to arms deals with France
By James Mackenzie

PARIS (Reuters) - Libya is set to buy anti-tank missiles and radio systems from European aerospace and defence group EADS, days after a visit to Tripoli by President Nicolas Sarkozy, the French government said on Friday.
France repeated its denials that the sale had been agreed in exchange for the release of a group of foreign medics held in jail for eight years for allegedly infecting Libyan children with HIV, and freed hours before Sarkozy's visit.

Defence Minister Herve Morin said the groundwork had been laid under the previous French government which approved the sale of anti-tank missiles in February, before Sarkozy's victory in the May presidential election.
"Agreement has been granted in principle, so unless there is a technical disagreement of some kind, it will be done at any time now," he told France Info radio.

Other European countries including Britain have been working for defence deals with Tripoli but a Libyan source said the sale would be the first from a Western country since an EU arms embargo was lifted in 2004.

EADS said its MBDA joint venture with Britain's BAE Systems
and Italy's Finmeccanica had finalised an accord to sell Libya Milan missiles, a portable, medium-range anti-tank weapon. It was also in advanced talks on supplying radios.

"This (missile) contract is awaiting the signature of the Libyan client, and EADS is happy that the negotiations could be concluded," EADS said in a statement.
The company made no comment on the value of the deals. A Libyan source said earlier they were worth a total of 296 million euros.

The Rest @ Reuters

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