Libya developed particularly close relations with France after the June 1967 War, when France relaxed its arms embargo on nonfront -line Middle East combatants and agreed to sell weapons to the Libyans. In 1974 Libya and France signed an agreement whereby Libya exchanged a guaranteed oil supply for technical assistance and financial cooperation. By 1976, however, Libya began criticizing France as an "arms merchant" because of its willingness to sell weapons to both sides in the Middle East conflict. Libya later criticized France for its willingness to sell arms to Egypt. Far more serious was Libya's dissatisfaction with French military intervention in the Western Sahara, Chad, and Zaire. In 1978 Qadhafi noted that although economic relations were good, political relations were not, and he accused France of having reverted to a colonialist policy that former French president Charles de Gaulle had earlier abandoned.
In the 1980s, Libyan-French discord centered on the situation in Chad. As mentioned, the two countries found themselves supporting opposite sides in the Chadian civil war. In late 1987, there were some French troops in Chad, but French policy did not permit its forces to cross the sixteenth parallel. Thus, direct clashes with Libyan soldiers seemed unlikely.
|Country Studies main page | Libya Country Studies main page|