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EGYPT: France suspends arms sales

February 5, 2011 |  9:39 am

Arms The French prime minister's office has confirmed that France has suspended sales of arms and tear gas to Egypt.

The decision was made by the prime minister's office at a Jan. 27 meeting, an aide to Prime Minister Francois Fillon told Agence France Press on Saturday, confirming a report on the website of the French daily Le Monde.

Export permits to send police equipment to Egypt, such as tear gas grenades, were suspended Jan. 25, the aide told AFP.

French Socialist opposition leaders recently challenged the government's decision to continue to allow such exports to Tunisia after the uprising there which eventually forced longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee.

Fillon confirmed that French permits had been granted for such exports to Tunisia by the defense, interior and foreign ministries in December and January, "but none of them resulted in exports," he told AFP.

French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie provoked controversy last month when she suggested that France train Tunisian police to maintain order better, amid reports that they had shot and killed dozens of unarmed protesters.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Egyptian protesters face soldiers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as hundreds of thousands take to the street to demand regime change Saturday. Credit: Manuel de Almeida/EPA

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