France and Libya on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding on the construction of a Libyan nuclear reactor for water desalination, a senior French official announced. "The objective is to cooperate so as to work on the installation in Libya of a nuclear reactor to supply drinking water from desalinated sea water," an aide to Sarkozy told Reuters. This announcement came shortly after Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalgham said the two sides were to sign a military-industrial accord and an agreement on civilian nuclear energy. Earlier, French President Nicolas Sarkozy held talks with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.
Sarkozy described his brief visit to Libya as a "political trip" to help Tripoli's reintegration into the international community after decades of sanctions and isolation. Sarkozy went to Libya a day after his wife contributed to the release of six medics, held in Libya since 1999 after they were found guilty in infecting children with the AIDS virus.