December 5, 2007 / 4:35 PM / 11 years ago

France to sell Libya up to 14 fighter jets - report

PARIS, Dec 5 (Reuters) - France could sell between 10 and 14 “Rafale” combat aircraft to Libya during a state visit to Paris by Muammar Gaddafi, La Tribune newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA), which builds the Rafale, declined to comment on the report. The office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy also declined to comment. Gaddafi is due to visit France for five days from Dec. 10, La Tribune said. It will be his first visit in more than 30 years.

The newspaper said Libya was seeking the Rafale for its special forces and was also seeking to buy between eight and 12 “Tiger” helicopters, made by EADS-subsidiary Eurocopter EAD.PA, and two naval patrol boats.

The visit should also formalise the sale of Airbus A350 XWB and other aircraft to two Libyan airlines, it said.

Sarkozy signed defence and nuclear energy accords during a controversial visit to Libya in July that followed Libya’s release of foreign medics jailed for eight years for allegedly infecting children with HIV.

Paris denied the arms and nuclear deals were a trade off for the release of the Bulgarian nurses and other medics. (Reporting by Nick Antonovics and Jean-Michel Belot; Editing by David Holmes)

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