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Old 07-24-2007, 03:04 PM   #1
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Bulgarian Nurses Freed... thank you Sarkozy?

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July 24 (Bloomberg) -- Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor who faced the death penalty for infecting Libyan children with HIV, landed in Sofia after eight years in a Libyan prison. The six medics were flown home in a French government plane early today.

Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev met them at Sofia airport. French President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife, Cecilia, and European Union foreign affairs commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who negotiated their release with Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, were with the medics.

Their return opens the way to normal relations between Libya and the EU's 27 member states. The French president said at a news conference in Paris that he will fly to Tripoli tomorrow to see Qaddafi and ``help Libya rejoin the concert of nations.''

This ``is a joyous day for Europe and Bulgaria, Ferrero- Waldner said in Sofia. ``This is a new page for Libya's relations with Europe.''

The six were allowed out under a prisoner-exchange accord between Bulgaria and Libya under which they could serve their sentences at home. The Bulgarian president pardoned them on arrival, meaning they went free immediately. The Palestinian doctor was granted Bulgarian nationality last month.

Presidential Pardon

``Guided by the firm conviction of the innocence of the Bulgarian citizens unjustly convicted in Libya and using the power given to him by the constitution, the Bulgarian President issued a decree pardoning them,'' Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin announced at Sofia airport.

European Commission President Jose Barroso said the release brought ``a moment of relief, emotion, of happiness.'' In a conversation with Qaddafi yesterday, ``I told him that, if this matter was settled, we will do our best to further normalize'' relations, Barroso told reporters in Brussels.

Libya's High Judicial Council, its top legal body, on July 19 overturned death sentences handed down in 2004. The six have been in custody since 1999 on charges they knowingly injected 426 Libyan children with HIV-tainted blood while working at a Benghazi hospital. Fifty-six of the children died. The medical workers denied wrongdoing and said they were tortured to extract confessions.

Lockerbie Bombing

The case prevented Libya from restoring ties with the U.S. and the EU after years of sanctions following the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which 270 people died. In 2003, Libya agreed to pay $2.7 billion in compensation to families of Lockerbie victims.

Bulgaria, which joined the EU on Jan. 1 and is part of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, sought international support to help free the nurses. It worked with international aid organizations to set up a fund to treat the infected children and improve care in the Benghazi hospital.

Cecilia Sarkozy first visited Libya on July 12 and saw the jailed medics and families of some of the infected children. She also met twice with Qaddafi, the Elysee Palace, the French presidency, said at the time. Accompanied by Elysee secretary- general Claude Gueant, she returned to Tripoli for the final negotiations on July 22.

The medics' sentences were commuted after the families of the infected children dropped their death-sentence demands in return for $460 million in compensation negotiated with the help of the EU and Libya's Qaddafi Foundation, Kalfin said.

Death Sentences

``Neither Europe nor France made the slightest financial contribution to Libya,'' Sarkozy said today.

The death sentences were first handed down in 2004 and confirmed by a court in Tripoli in December 2006 and by Libya's Supreme Court on July 16.

Judges in the original trial rejected the testimony of French, Italian and Swiss scientists who said the infections were caused by poor hygiene before the nurses worked at the hospital. Luc Montagnier, of Paris's Pasteur Institute and co-discoverer of the AIDS virus, was among the scientists who testified in the medics' defense.

(...)
Link for the whole article: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...s9U&refer=home

I'm glad the nurses and the doctor are free. But I wonder what Sarkozy's role and especially his wife's really were in this issue. To me, it was more a mission for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Kouchner. I just hope it's not a way to enhance the personality of Mrs Sarkozy. Plus, Sarkozy, when elected president, claimed that this issue was to be his priority... it was in May, 2 months ago. Wasn't it extremely quick to solve an issue like this one which lasted for 8 years?

Anyway, good news!
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:14 PM   #2
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That's great news for the nurses, the doctor and their family and friends. I had just heard their death sentences had been lifted and was relieved at that. They must be very happy and relieved.
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:20 PM   #3
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The Geran Minister for Foreign Affairs, Steinbrück, has negotiated secretly with Libya for several months. The Romanian government did so openly for years.
I'm sure many other countries did so secretly and openly as well.

I doubt that Sarkozy, and especially his wife, have achieved in just a few weeks what others have worked for for years.

But it's great news that they are free again, nevertheless.
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega
The Geran Minister for Foreign Affairs, Steinbrück, has negotiated secretly with Libya for several months. The Romanian government did so openly for years.
I'm sure many other countries did so secretly and openly as well.

I doubt that Sarkozy, and especially his wife, have achieved in just a few weeks what others have worked for for years.

But it's great news that they are free again, nevertheless.
So what the others did secretly, Sarkozy did through the media...
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:41 PM   #5
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I've followed this story and am so happy they're free. Eight years in a Libyan prison...just horrific.
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Old 07-24-2007, 04:12 PM   #6
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Re: Bulgarian Nurses Freed... thank you Sarkozy?

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Originally posted by MissMaCo
thank you Sarkozy?

thank you Khadafi
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Old 07-24-2007, 06:26 PM   #7
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Hopefully, Sarkovy's strong medicine will succeed in making France great again.

France is quite rightly and justifiably sceptical of Anglo-Americanism and globalism, however France has also gone down the road of statism too much and I hope that Sarkovy is the man to fix it.
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Old 07-25-2007, 08:38 AM   #8
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That's great for the nurses.
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Old 07-25-2007, 02:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by financeguy
Sarkovy
z
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Old 07-27-2007, 12:48 PM   #10
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TRIPOLI, Libya (Reuters) — After agreeing to nuclear cooperation with Libya, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the West should trust Arab states to develop such technology for peaceful purposes or risk a war of civilizations.

Sarkozy said preventing Arab states from developing nuclear power risked stoking a “war of civilizations.”

France agreed on Wednesday to help Libya develop a nuclear reactor to supply drinking water from desalinated sea water. The reactor might be supplied by French atomic energy firm Areva. Sarkozy told reporters in Libya that to consider the Arab world “is not sensible enough to use civilian nuclear power” would, in the long run, risk a “war of civilizations”.

“Nuclear power is the energy of the future,” he said. “If we don’t give the energy of the future to the countries of the southern Mediterranean, how will they develop themselves? And if they don’t develop, how will we fight terrorism and fanaticism?”
http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/07/26/sarkozy.libya.reut/

French cooperation with Arab states and nuclear technology wasn't a problem before, I don't see how it could be an issue in the future.
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