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France sells €5bn of arms globally

Major deal to re-arm Libya was halted at first signs of uprising

FRANCE sold more than €5 billion worth of arms round the world in 2010 and kept its position as the fourth biggest world arms retailer.

A parliamentary report said that contracts worth €192 million had been agreed with the now-toppled Gadaffi regime in Libya for the sale of Milan missiles and servicing of Mirage jets. However, delivery was suspended upon the first signs of the popular uprising. French arms companies had seen it as the first part of a projected €4.2bn deal over coming years with Gadaffi.

French arms sales had tumbled 37% from 2009 when they totalled €8.16bn - part of global arms sales worth €60-70bn.

Defence ministry spokesman General Philippe Pontiès said France wanted to consolidate its position at 6% of the market in coming years. Saudi Arabia, India and Malaysia are the main French clients with Middle-Eastern sales making up 27% of the total. However, sales to countries such as Syria and the Yemen had been halted.

Elsewhere, arms were sold to Latin America (25%), Asia (18%) and Europe (17%).

France sits behind America, with 53.7 of the global arms market, the UK (12.5%) and Russia (8.2%).

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