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France, Libya in Secret Defense Pact
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France and Libya have entered into a secret agreement on defense cooperation covering the sale of military hardware and provision of training for Libyan Special Forces, French weekly satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaine reported Wednesday.

According to the newspaper, the "agreement that calls for cooperation in the domain of defense and partnership in the defense industry" was signed by French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner and his Libyan counterpart Abderrahmane Chalgam in Tripoli on July 25, 2007, one day after the release of five Bulgarian nurses and a doctor.

The agreement covers 12 areas of cooperation such as the "exchange of views and information," "exchange visits between experts from the two countries," "sale of various military hardware and defense systems to Libya" as well as the "protection and promotion of investments in the domain of defense," the new paper reports.

In addition, the agreement explores "the possibility for conducting joint military maneuvers" and "provision of training for specialized military units, Special Forces and border guard units from Libya."

The agreement also stipulates that the modalities for its "implementation" will be "worked out" within the "next 12 months.

In early August 2007, Libya announced that it had reached an armament agreement with a leading European arms manufacturer EADS for the purchase of Milan anti-tank missiles worth €168 million (US$226.8 million) and Tetra radio communication system for a further €128 million (US$174.8 million). The announcement fueled debate on what had been promised to Libya in order to secure the freedom of the Bulgarian nurses.

The two countries also signed an agreement for the supply of a nuclear reactor to be used in the purification of sea water during the July 25 visit to Libya by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

(Xinhua News Agency August 30, 2007)

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