TRIPOLI, Libya — Moammar Gadhafi’s long-isolated Libya has signed two contracts for missiles and communications equipment with French companies totaling $405 million, a government official said Thursday.
The first contract, worth $230 million, is for Milan missiles, and the second, totaling $175 million, is for advanced Tetra communications and surveillance equipment for the police, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. He did not reveal the names of the French companies.
The official said the deal is important because it is the first of its kind that Libya signed with a Western country since sanctions were imposed in the early 1990s.
In 2003, Gadhafi announced he was dismantling his nuclear weapons program, bringing about a lifting of U.S. and European sanctions.
Last week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy met with Gadhafi and promised to boost relations with Tripoli as a reward for releasing five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor imprisoned for allegedly infecting Libyan children with the AIDS virus.
During Sarkozy’s visit, France and Libya signed wide-ranging cooperation agreements in areas including defense, health, the fight against terrorism and civilian nuclear power.
Long-isolated Libya is hoping for increased cooperation with Europe and the United States after it freed the six medics.