French lawmakers vote to fund Libya mission

Deputies of the French National Assembly debating the mission in Libya, July 12, 2011.

From John Irish and Emily Picy, Reuters:  Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to extend funding for France’s military intervention in Libya after the prime minister said a political solution to end the crisis was taking shape.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said envoys reported that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was ready to leave power.

"A political solution is more than ever indispensable and is beginning to take shape," Prime Minister [François] Fillon said during the three-hour debate in the lower house of parliament. . . .

Deputies in the National Assembly voted 482 in favor of the extension with 27 opposing it. In the Senate it was passed with 311 votes in favor and 24 against.

President Nicolas Sarkozy took a gamble by taking a personal role in supporting Libya’s rebels, but is now anxious to avoid costly military operations running into the start of campaigning for the April 2012 presidential election. . . .

France has spent some 160 million euros ($228 million) on its operations in Libya, which Fillon said involved 4,400 people, around 800 of which were based in France and the rest on foreign air bases or warships near Libya.

The opposition Socialist Party had signaled it would not oppose the extension, but said it wanted more intensive efforts to secure a political solution and a new debate in September if the mission had not ended.  (photo: Reuters)

Image: reuters%207%2013%2011%20National%20Assembly.jpg