France is to send two planes of aid to opposition territory in Libya, Prime Minister Francois Fillon has said.
“In a few hours two French planes will leave for Benghazi on behalf of the French government with doctors, nurses, medical equipment and medicine,” Prime Minister Fillon said in an interview with France’s RTL radio – referring to the eastern Libyan town that has been at the centre of the Libyan uprising and is now in opposition hands.
“This will be the start of a massive humanitarian aid operation to the populations of liberated areas,” he declared.
He said France had not ruled out backing a Nato-enforced “no-fly zone” over Libya – one way it has been suggested that foreign governments could help defend Libyan rebels against the remaining air power of Col Muammar Gaddafi.
By sending aid to rebels in Libya, Paris now appears to be taking steps to ensure it is seen as supporting democratic change in the region, given its history in North-West Africa.