Libya may not be a hot topic on most foreign policy agendas now that it has stopped overtly exporting terrorism, but it took center stage in yesterday's presidential campaign. Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death this past December for infecting 426 children with HIV, causing international furore as independent scientists denied that it was the medics' fault. Both Sarkozy and Royal met with members of the prisoners' families yesterday, pledging to work for their release.
"The aim is to do everything to obtain their release, particularly on a European level."
"I want France to put human rights to the service of these women's rights. We cannot leave them in this situation. We must react, we must act. If I am elected president of the republic, I will make the release of these women and this man a priority."
Of course while moral support is always welcome, neither had any concrete proposals on how to resolve the issue. Perhaps to underline this shallowness, an official of Libya's Foreign Ministry told reporters today that the statements of the two candidates were merely "pre-election publicity".
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