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France

Sarkozy denies plan to build nuclear power station in Kadhafi's Libya

Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

Incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday denied that France had plans to build a nuclear power station in Libya under Moamer Kadhafi, despite an agreement to negotiate such a deal signed in 2010 with the then-industry minister and Sarkozy’s own declaration that it was in the pipeline in 2007.

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“There was never any question of selling a nuclear power station to Mr Kadhafi and allow me to tell you that, if there is one head of state in the world who didn’t mix with Mr Kadhafi and is responsible for his departure and what happened to him, I think it’s me,” Sarkozy told a caller on France Inter radio who had challenged him on the question.

But, as reported by RFI at the time, two years ago Sarkozy’s industry minister Christian Estrosi signed an agreement in principle on collaboration in the energy sector with Kadhafi’s regime.

According to the Reuters news agency, it meant that negotiations could begin on building a nuclear power station.

The government issued no denial of the report at the time and Estrosi confirmed that the visit had taken place and that the construction of a small reactor had been raised to Libération newspaper in 2011.

In fact, when Kadhafi visited Paris in 2007 Sarkozy himself announced that contracts worth “tens of billions” of euros had been signed, adding that they included “contracts to work together on seawater desalination station with a nuclear reactor, cooperation in the weapons sector and different economic contracts”.

THE BATTLE FOR LIBYA

There was controversy over Kadhafi’s 2007 visit with charges that Sarkozy was cosying up to a dictator for the sake of trade.

When anti-Kadhafi rebels took up arms last year, Sarkozy, along with British Prime Minister David Cameron, was at the forefront of efforts to help the uprising with Nato air strikes and a diplomatic offensive against Kadhafi.

Sarkozy is currently fighting to be reelected.

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