Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, on his first visit to a Western European capital, spent two-and-a-half hours with French President Georges Pomidou on Saturday (November 24th) at the Elysee Place in Paris.
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, on his first visit to a Western European capital, spent two-and-a-half hours with French President Georges Pomidou on Saturday (November 24th) at the Elysee Place in Paris. Afterward, he would not comment except to say that they had discussed "the Middle East conflict and security in the Mediterranean." He also said that President Pompidou had "accepted in principle" an invitation to visit Libya.
Although described as a "private visit," four ministers, the Chief of Staff, and three armed forces chiefs accompanied the Libyan leader. Prime Minister Pierre Messmer welcomed them at Orly airport.
Ultra-strict security was in force at the airport and when the Colonel went to the Elysee Palace the following morning, police marksmen were on nearby rooftops and plain-clothesmen were stationed along the route Colonel Gaddafi arrived for his meeting with the French President in a white turtle-necked sweater. He was mildly shocked when the Republican Guard band played the Libyan anthem associated with King Idris, whom he deposed in 1966.
It was widely reported in Paris that Colonel Gaddafi was offering a guaranteed supply of Libyan oil in return for France's latest weapons, particularly the Mirage F-1 attack jet, ground-to-air missiles, and AMX-30 tanks. Although French spokesmen have maintained that offensive weapons would not be supplied to the Middle East, France is the only European country to have expressed no concern about oil supplies.
While some 200 journalists waited for a scheduled press conference, Colonel Gaddafi slipped off to a Paris Hospital for a two-hour medical checkup, which had apparently been previously arranged. The 31-year-old conference later. He told the journalists that the middle East conflict would flare up again unless Israel withdrew from Arab territories, but he insisted that Libya was seeking arms for defence.