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By Aurelien Girard
Jul 12, 2011

PARIS—The French Parliament authorized the continued intervention of French forces in Libya on Tuesday, after four months of bombing Moammar Gadhafi’s positions.

According to the French Constitution, no military operation can last longer than four months without being approved by Parliament.

Voices of Communist representatives, who were strongly opposed to the ongoing military strikes in Libya, were defeated in a 27 to 482 vote—in favor of continued military intervention.

The Socialist Party approved the government proposal, but asked for a new vote in September, if Gadhafi had not been ousted by then.

Defense Minister Alain Juppe announced during an interview on France Info radio, that Gadhafi may be ready to leave.

Speaking to members of Parliament, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said, “Gadhafi’s back is against the wall. The breaking point has not yet been reached but we must now stand stronger than ever.”

“Everywhere, free Libyans are gaining ground and the trap is now closing in on Gaddafi,” Fillon added.

“Over 2,500 military targets have been hit in the last four months,” said Fillon, including 850 logistical sites, 160 command centers, 450 tanks, 220 vehicles, and 140 heavy artillery.

Sending Weapons to Libyan Rebels

The French government has recently been criticized for admitting that it sent weapons to Libyans rebels.

Fillon argued that the decision was made “in a very particular context and in view of severe and imminent threats faced by [Libyan] people in Djebel Nefoussa.”

“What were we to do when we saw that civil populations were soon to be bombed?”

The Socialist Party decried the French government’s actions saying that it acted against the United Nations’ resolution mandate by indirectly providing weapons to al-Qaeda militants.

Bernard Cazeneuve, secretary of the Parliament Defense Commission, pointed to the high costs of the Libyan military operations, which were confirmed by the French budget minister to have hit almost $224 million.

Cazeneuve also spoke about the protracted length of time and costs involved in the air strikes, which shows how much the French government underestimated the difficulties of trying to overthrow Gadhafi.

“The regional context indeed has played a role in our decision. Without the Tunisian and Egyptian revolution, we may not have acted,” confirmed Fillon.

“A political solution in Libya is more than ever indispensable and one is beginning to take shape, Fillon said.

Conditions for an end to military operations, Fillon said, were a real and verifiable ceasefire with Gaddafi’s forces back in their barracks; the end of actions against civilians; free access for humanitarian aid, and the withdrawal of Gadhafi from power.

Source: The Epoch Times.
Link: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/world/france-votes-to-keep-troops-on-in-libya-59032.html.

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