'France sold Gaddafi €90 mn in arms'
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) greets Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in Paris in December 10, 2007.
France, one of NATO's most prolific forces in the assault on Libya, delivered 90 million euros worth of arms to Tripoli in 2010, the French daily Le Monde reports.
According to a departmental report by the French Ministry of Defense €35 million worth of orders and €90 million of actual deliveries were on the roster of France's arms exports to Libya in 2010, Nathalie Guibert said in the Le Monde editorial.
She added that in January, one month before the onset of the Libyan revolution, Muammar Gaddafi received the last batch of 1,000 missiles.
According to the article France was the fourth largest arms exporter in 2010 with over five billion euros in revenues from arms sales.
Guibert further quotes France's Delegate General for Armaments Laurent Collet-Billon as saying that in business terms, the military operations in Libya demonstrate the best circumstances in the market for arms deals.
The article says that the helicopter carrier PCBs (sold to Russia), Rafale jet-fighters (for which the French government hopes to finally conclude a first agreement with the United Arab Emirates), Tiger helicopters (European) or SCALP missiles, fired for first time in Libya, turned the North African country into a showcase for the sales of the military weapons.
Guibert pointed out that Libya has the biggest share of arms imports from France among the countries which have been the scene of popular uprisings.
In 2010, arms exports reached 9.8 million euros to Bahrain, almost 40 million euros to Egypt, and one million euros to Tunisia (including machine guns (AA52), she said.
The French analyst noted that Paris had also granted nearly 55 million of export licenses for military equipment to the Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's regime in Tunisia over the last two years.
She said that the Islamic Awakening in Arab countries have posed a challenge to French arms exports. The Libyan revolution has ended arms sales to the country but France is now eyeing the lucrative markets of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as a destination for its arms exports.
With French NGO's challenging the country's arms sales policies, what Paris cares most about these days is maintaining its international image, Guibert concluded.