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Libya Orders French Aeronautical Technicians to Leave Country

Libya has officially told French aeronautical technicians on its territory that they are “no longer desirable” and has requested the French government to withdraw all its experts from Libya. Nearly 100 French technicians, maintenance workers, mechanics and engineers, had been working on Libyan airfields on the Mirage planes which Libya has already received from France. Other French technicians have been preparing ground installations for the bulk of the planes which are due to arrive in Libya next year. Most of the technicians belong to the Dassault Company, the manufacturer of the Mirage planes.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned from highly reliable French sources that the Libyan request, which is considered “top secret” by the French authorities, had been received in Paris about a week ago. A number of technicians and dependants have already returned to France. French official circles believe that Libya has demanded the withdrawal of the technicians in order to have an absolutely “free hand” in where and how to use the planes without the slightest foreign interference or surveillance.

The Libyans had promised not to use the 110 Mirages bought from France outside the country’s borders and now apparently want to break this clause in the contract. Though the first operational area for the Libyan Mirages is likely to be in the republic of Chad, where the Libyans support the rebel movement while France stands behind the country’s lawful regime, the withdrawal of the French technicians might have repercussions in the Middle East. After the complete withdrawal of the French experts, Libya will be free to send its mirages on a possible expedition against Israel.

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