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France eyes Libya deals after unfreezing $2.5 assets

Published on Nov 13, 2012 6:23 AM
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks during a joint press conference with Libyan Prime Minister-designate Ali Zeidan and French Minister of Economic Recovery Arnaud Montebourg (both unseen) in the capital Tripoli, on Nov 12, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - France said on Monday it was ready to start releasing almost US$2 billion (S$2.5 billion) in frozen assets belonging to Libya's sovereign wealth fund, as it looks to secure investment from the oil-producing nation.

France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius made the announcement during a visit to Tripoli, the latest in a series of high-level French political and business delegations to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) member.

France spearheaded efforts to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi last year and, as part of wide-ranging international sanctions, froze about US$8 billion to US$9 billion in assets held in France.

"France is committed through me to immediately begin unfreezing the funds of the Libyan Investment Authority estimated at US$1.865 billion," Mr Fabius said, according to a copy of a speech to Libya's general congress sent to Reuters by the foreign ministry.

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