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Gadhafi rewarded with arms deal (Gets 14.7 Billion in Arms a

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:02 am
by Daanyeer
Gadhafi rewarded with arms deal (Gets 14.7 Billion in Arms and a Nuke Reactor!)

Source: Wash Times

PARIS — Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi signed contracts for $14.7 billion in armaments and a nuclear reactor yesterday, on his first official visit to a Western country since he renounced terrorism.

However, there was dismay in some circles about the Libyan's arrival on International Human Rights Day. The government's own secretary of state for human rights said hours before his arrival that France was not a "doormat" on which Col. Gadhafi could wipe off the blood of his crimes.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy described the contracts as rewards for Tripoli's improved behavior.

"We must encourage those who renounce terrorism, who renounce the possession of nuclear arms," Mr. Sarkozy said after a meeting with Col. Gadhafi. He did not elaborate on the accords for a civilian nuclear reactor, a desalination plant and armaments.

Libya also agreed to buy 21 Airbus planes — 10 of the A350 model, four A330s and seven A320s — but the value of the deal was not announced. One of Col. Gadhafi's sons told the French daily Le Figaro the Airbus deal was worth $4.4 billion.

Col. Gadhafi was long known as the champion of armed struggle and a sponsor of state terrorism. But his country started moving back into the international fold with its 2003 decision to dismantle its clandestine nuclear-arms program.

The same year it paid $2.7 billion to families of the victims of the 1998 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, then agreed to pay $170 million in compensation to the families of the 170 victims of the 1989 bombing of a French UTA passenger jet.

Rama Yade, France's secretary of state for human rights and a junior member of the center-right government, was less willing than Mr. Sarkozy to overlook Col. Gadhafi's record in remarks yesterday to the daily newspaper Le Parisien.

"Colonel Gadhafi must understand that our country is not a doormat on which a leader, terrorist or not, can come and wipe the blood of his crimes off his feet. France should not receive this kiss of death," she said.

"It would be indecent, in any case, that this visit be summed up with the signing of contracts," she added.

Col. Gadhafi also was castigated by politicians, philosophers and others. Police detained a group of nearly 30 protesters at Paris' human rights plaza, according to Associated Press Television News. Up to 80 were arrested around Paris, both foes and partisans of Col. Gadhafi, Le Figaro's Web site reported.

Mr. Sarkozy took Mrs. Yade's remarks in stride, saying: "She is secretary of state for human rights, and it's perfectly normal that she has a conviction on this issue which, moreover, I share, and I reminded the Libyan president of that."

Mr. Sarkozy is the first Western leader to extend an invitation to the flamboyant "guide of the Libyan revolution" since his falling out with the West in the 1980s.