French Divided on Qaddafi Trip

Critics see too much carrot, not enough stick during Libyan leader's highly visible visit
By Kevin Langbaum,  Newser User
Posted Dec 12, 2007 4:38 PM CST

(Newser) – Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s visit to Paris continues to raise questions as to whether the French president sold out by dealing with the dictator, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Activists and some government officials say President Nicolas Sarkozy ignored Libya’s dismal human-rights record in favor of business, but Sarkozy pointed to Qaddafi’s renouncing of terrorism in defending the decision.

The eccentric Qaddafi’s visit netted $17.6 billion in contracts for French companies. Sarkozy had to balance that with France’s support of human rights and his own pledge to support those “persecuted by tyranny and dictatorships.” While some of his aides skipped the meetings, Sarkozy said it was important to reward countries that have taken positive steps against terrorism and nuclear weapons.