Official: Libya to get French missiles

( AP ) - A Libyan official said Thursday that Moammar Gadhafi's long-isolated country has signed contracts worth $405 million with French companies for missiles and communications equipment.

A spokesman for French President Nicolas Sarkozy would not confirm the deal but said there appeared to be one. French officials denied that any deal to sell military equipment was in exchange for Libya's releasing six imprisoned medics last month.

The first contract, worth $230 million, is for Milan missiles, and the second, totaling $175 million, is for advanced Tetra communications and surveillance equipment for the police, said the Libyan official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. He did not reveal the names of the French companies.

The official said the deal is important because it is the first of its kind that Libya has signed with a Western country since sanctions were imposed in the early 1990s.

In 2003, Gadhafi announced he was dismantling his nuclear weapons program, and the U.S. and Europe lifted sanctions. That same year, Libya accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, which killed 270 people, and agreed to pay restitution to the victims' families.

David Martinon, spokesman for Sarkozy, refused to confirm the contracts during an appearance late Thursday evening on France's LCI television.

"I do not confirm," Martinon said. But he added, "I imagine it to be true." The spokesman did not give the names of the French companies involved, but suggested one was the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.

"It is not my job to speak about the commercial dealings of a company like EADS, which appears to have concluded this deal," he said.

Martinon insisted that no arms contract was signed during Sarkozy's visit to Tripoli last week, the day after the release of the five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor. He said there was "no compensation of that sort by France" for the release of the medics, who had been imprisoned 8 1/2 years for allegedly infecting Libyan children with the AIDS virus.

Libya allowed the medics to leave for Bulgaria on July 24 on the French presidential plane in the company of first lady Cecilia Sarkozy - on her second visit to Libya - and a European Union official.

The French president flew to Libya a day later to normalize relations with the one-time rogue state, now looking to rejoin the international community and erase its profile as an official sponsor of terrorism.

Sarkozy announced an initial agreement to sell Libya a nuclear-powered plant, saying the civilian nuclear technology would be used to desalinate sea water.

Under a deal sealed by the medics' release, the European Union agreed to an aid package and the prospect of increased trade ties. The Europeans also said they would encourage contributions to a Libyan fund set up to compensate families of the infected children.

There had been reports Wednesday of a military deal between France and Libya.

Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, told the French daily Le Monde that a deal had been concluded involving the sale of French Milan anti-tank missiles for an estimated $137 million, as well as a deal on the joint Franco-Libyan manufacture of military equipment.

He also spoke of an agreement to conduct joint military exercises, adding this would be Libya's first military deal with a Western nation, according to Le Monde.

Earlier Thursday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner also denied that France has made a deal with Libya to sell military hardware in partial exchange for the six medics.

"There was no accord, there was no compensation, no money and no specific accord on any arms," Kouchner said.

Kouchner conceded, however, that in any lengthy negotiations like those that led to the release of the six medics, it is "obvious" that "there is a slightly hidden aspect." He did not elaborate.

Also Thursday, Bulgaria's government said it wants to write off Libya's $57 million debt to Bulgaria and transfer the outstanding obligation to the internationally administered fund.

"With these funds, Bulgaria aims to help Libya in its efforts to modernize its medical infrastructure, to contribute to the treatment of the HIV-infected children and to financial aid to their families," the government press office said.

The six medics were serving life sentences in a Libyan prison after they were convicted of deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV in a hospital in Benghazi. Fifty of the children died.

The six had been imprisoned for more than eight years when Libya agreed last month, under intense international pressure, to transfer them to serve out their sentences in Bulgaria. Upon their arrival in Bulgaria, the president immediately pardoned and freed them. Libya protested against their release.

The medical workers denied infecting the children and said their confessions were extracted under torture. The charges were widely denounced abroad as false.

Fitch Ratings forecasts inflation rate in Azerbaijan for 2021-22
Fitch Ratings forecasts inflation rate in Azerbaijan for 2021-22
Azerbaijan's government budget deficit to narrow in 2021-2022 - Fitch Ratings
Azerbaijan's government budget deficit to narrow in 2021-2022 - Fitch Ratings
Fitch predicts growth in foreign direct investments in Azerbaijan
Fitch predicts growth in foreign direct investments in Azerbaijan
Loading Bars
Latest
Turkey aims to create electric vehicle market
Uzbekistan imported more than 200 million liters of gasoline in Jan-Apr 2021
Iranian, Spanish FMs exchange views on economic, trade coop.
Kazakh, Polish, Ukrainian and Arabian airlines to resume flights to Batumi
All international airlines halt air service with Israel
IDF confirms its strike on Gaza building after advance warning to civilians
Azerbaijani and Tajik FMs discuss situation on Azerbaijani-Armenian border
Fitch Ratings forecasts inflation rate in Azerbaijan for 2021-22
Nordwind launches direct flights from St. Petersburg to Baku from May 18
US ambassador to Azerbaijan, USAID director meet with Azerbaijani MP
Shooting occurred on border with Iran, two Azerbaijani border guards were killed
Suez Canal starts dredging work to extend double lane
At least 2,300 missiles fired at Israel from Gaza Strip since May 10
Africa's COVID-19 cases pass 4.67 mln: Africa CDC
Turkish Airlines resumes flights to Azerbaijan's Ganja (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for May 15
France's import value of Turkish cement rises
Azerbaijan confirms 377 more COVID-19 cases, 1,318 recoveries
Azerbaijan's government budget deficit to narrow in 2021-2022 - Fitch Ratings
Azerbaijan's olive oil company entering Russian market
Turkey's revenues from exporting electrical goods to France increase
Fitch Ratings anticipates Azerbaijan's GDP growth in 2021
Value of Georgia's import of Turkish clothes grows
China's import value of Turkish electrical goods up in 4M2021
Turkey unveils number of ships docking at Tuzla port in 1Q2021
French import of grains from Turkey rises in value
Fitch predicts growth in foreign direct investments in Azerbaijan
U.S. requires inspections for wire failure on Boeing 737 Classic planes
Azerbaijani oil prices rebound
Iran hoping to overcome 4-th peak of COVID-19
Iran worried about blackouts due to cryptocurrency mining at homes
Georgia increases exports of beer
Kazakhstan's import value of Turkish electrical goods disclosed
Kazakhstan’s postal operator to engage repair services via tender
Kazakh energy company opens tender for buying isolators
Uzbekistan's import value of Turkish electrical goods notably up
Walmart says fully vaccinated employees can go without masks starting Tuesday
Azerbaijani president, first lady visit secondary school No 1 and Saint Elisæus Jotaari Church in Nij settlement, Gabala (PHOTO)
Georgia reports 1,576 new cases of COVID-19
Iran hopes to start exporting gas if Vienna talks are successful
Iran's 4M2021 import of Turkish grains doubles in value
Turkey reveals 1Q2021 volume of cargo shipment via Trabzon port
Value of Turkish cement export to Germany rises
EBRD to back development renewable energy projects in Georgia
Azerbaijani president, first lady attend opening ceremony of Gabala Railway Station and Laki station - Gabala single-track railway (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani president, first lady attend opening ceremony of new bridge over Bum River, road to Bum settlement after renovation (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani president, first lady visit Albanian Church of Blessed Virgin Mary in Nij settlement, Gabala (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani president, first lady arrive in Gabala district (PHOTO)
Iran inaugurating more projects in Chabahar port
Romania’s Romgaz lowers natural gas output q-o-q
No provocative actions against Russian peacekeepers noted in Karabakh - MoD
Casualties due to landmines in Azerbaijani liberated territories addressed at online conference
India: Modi releases 8th instalment of PM-KISAN benefits
Fitch revises outlook on Azerbaijan's IDR
Armed forces spearhead India’s Covid battle
UN Secretary-General counts on cooperation with Russia in supporting peace and stability
Romgaz’s investments turn out to be 39% less than planned
Spain logged hottest year on record in 2020
Romgaz sees over 7% decrease in Q1 2021 revenues
Khari Bulbul festival in Azerbaijan's Shusha became message to the world - MP
TAP AG joins other partners to submit White Dragon for IPCEI status
UAE urges Mideast ceasefire, offers condolences to all victims
Vienna Energy Research Group talks Iran's capacity in oil production, int'l oil sales
Iran to invest in Afghanistan's infrastructure projects
Petrochemical revenues to become less volatile, says McKinsey & Co.
Tickets for UEFA EURO 2020 matches in Baku up on sale (PHOTO)
Georgia’s subsistence minimum up
Azerbaijan to have two routes to Turkey within BTK corridor
Europe has right conditions for "safe reopening" of tourism in summer - EU Commissioner
Georgian-Lithuanian co-op facilitates freight transport between China, Europe - Ministry
Jan.-Apr. 2021: Georgian wine export up 15%
Demand for domestic tourism on the rise in Kazakhstan
Some 300 applicants register for Presidential elections in İran
Turkey’s 87 tech zones exports reach $5.8 billion
China's probe lands on Mars
Kazakhstan keen to cooperate with Spain in water resources management
Number of active U.S. drilling rigs increases this week
Cuba reports record number of daily COVID-19 cases
Japanese lawyer implores Tokyo to cancel Olympics, 350,000 sign petition
Romania to ease COVID-19 restrictions from Saturday
U.S. city Columbus agrees to pay 10 mln USD to family of unarmed black man killed by police
3 rockets fired from Syria toward Israel
Indonesia reports 2,633 new COVID-19 cases, 107 new deaths
Turkey reports over 14 400 COVID-19 cases)
New project 'Log in Georgia' to give access to high-speed internet to people in rural areas
Head of Kazakhstan holds meeting with World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia
Lithuanian company launches innovative complex solution in Azerbaijan's financial sector
5.2 mln Ethiopians in restive northern region need food aid - UN
Improved coronavirus conditions lead to further relaxation of restrictions in Cyprus
Israel's annual inflation up 0.8 pct, highest in nearly 2 years
Chairs of Azerbaijani Parliament, Turkish National Assembly talk issues of mutual interest
COVID-19 kills 202 more Iranians over past 24 hours
Lithuania gifts 15,000 Covid-19 vaccines to Georgia
Turkey to gradually relax COVID-19 measures, normalcy in June
President Tokayev receives Finnish Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva made another post from Karabakh (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Germany's COVID-19 incidence rate drops below 100 for first time in two months
Georgia updates environmental targets with support from EU4Climate project
Azerbaijani FM, high-ranked EU official discuss Armenian-Azerbaijani border situation
Extra costs to air fares for PCR testing almost double flight cost - IATA
All news