Sarkozy Sits Down With Qadaffi

Human rights groups criticize French prez for meeting with Libyan leader
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2007 4:48 PM CST
Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi reviews the French Republican Guard upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace for a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in Paris, Monday, Dec. 10, 2007. Gadhafi...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Muammar Qaddafi arrived in France today for his first visit in 30-plus years as human rights groups blasted Nicolas Sarkozy for agreeing to meet with the Libyan leader, AFP reports. The French president is preparing to to sign 10 billion euros' worth of contracts with Libya, which activists say is guilty of continuing rights violations, but Sarkozy insists that he pressed Qaddafi for progress.

"France is hosting a head of state who has definitively given up on obtaining nuclear weapons, who has chosen definitively to renounce terrorism and who has chosen to compensate the victims," Sarkozy said. But even within his government, objections are widespread, the New York Times reports. "France must not receive this kiss of death," said one cabinet seccretary.