France sending massive aid shipment to Libya's Benghazi

February 28, 2011 11:17

France will send two planeloads of medical aid to the Libyan city of Benghazi, held by opponents of Muammar Gaddafi, marking the start of a humanitarian operation, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Monday.

Fillon linked the aid mission to a wider effort by the French government to prevent an influx of immigrants from Libya across the Mediterranean, in the wake of an uprising that has shaken but not broken the rule of Muammar Gaddafi.

France and Italy have both expressed concern that a collapse of organized government in Libya could lead Libyans and migrant workers there to flee to the southern shores of the European Union.

"In a few hours two airplanes will leave for Benghazi at the request of the French government with doctors, nurses, medical equipment, and it will mark the start of a massive humanitarian aid operation for the people in the liberated territories," Fillon said in an interview on RTL.

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