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Sarkozy greeted as a hero on return to Libya

Ben McPartland · 19 Mar 2013, 18:14

Published: 19 Mar 2013 18:14 GMT+01:00

Sarkozy landed at the military airport in Mitiga on Tuesday, accompanied by former French Prime Minister Alain Juppé and former Minister for Justice Dominique Perben.

His 24-hour visit brought back memories of the victory lap he made in the autumn of 2011 with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Sarkozy had led the successful charge by NATO to depose the Libyan former dictator, in what was considered one of his political triumphs during his five years in the Elysée Palace.

Juppé told BFM TV that Sarkozy was “moved” by the reception he received. “He talked about how all of this has come about. Libya is still present in his mind and we understand because the decision he took to intervene was huge and with serious consequences, but it succeeded.”

“It is moving to hear people shout ‘Vive la France' and ‘Vive Sarkozy’. That is what makes this trip all worth while,” Juppé added.

The former president met with representatives of the local Tripoli council before heading for talks with the country's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. The former head of state is also set to meet with members of the General National Congress.

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Sarkozy’s visit coincides with the second anniversary of the launch of the Libyan intervention and coincides with increased speculation about him making a heroic return to politics in France.

Last month The Local reported Sarkozy’s intriguing interview with a French magazine in which he spoke about having ‘a duty’ to make a comeback for the sake of ‘France’.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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