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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-11-12

Former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, sentenced to one year in prison for his role in the illegal sale of arms to Angola, says he will make important disclosures in a press conference on Thursday.

Former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, sentenced in late October to one year in prison for his role in the arms-to-Angola or ‘Angolagate’ scandal, promised to make important disclosures in a press conference on Thursday.

Pasqua told French newspaper Journal du Dimanche (JDD) on Saturday that he had further revelations  to make that would "refresh the memory" of former French president Jacques Chirac regarding certain aspects of France's illegal arms trade with Angola as it fought a bitter civil war.  

The 82-year-old French senator has urged French authorities to declassify sensitive documents linked to the deal, which he says are protecting many of those once involved in the illegal arms trade. 

Pasqua will call for certain information to be declassified "so that we know exactly who was involved in the arms deals”, Pasqua’s lawyer, Léon-Lef Forster, told AFP. 

Arms sales to Angola began in 1993 while former president Francois Mitterrand, a Socialist, was in power and continued until 1998, three years after the election of conservative Jaques Chirac. 

The weapons were sent to Angola through a French-based firm and its Eastern European subsidiary.

The huge Soviet-made arsenal that fuelled Angola's grim civil conflict included 420 tanks, 150,000 shells, 170,000 anti-personnel mines, 12 helicopters, and six warships and was worth 790 million dollars (530 million euros). 

Only six of the 42 defendants were acquitted in a trial that began in October after years of complex investigations. 


Date created : 2009-11-12


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