France pulls Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier from Libya
Aug 4, 2011, 10:18 GMT
Paris - France is withdrawing its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier from the war in Libya after four months, Defence Minister Gerard Longuet was quoted by a French newspaper Thursday as saying.
The nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle was deployed off Libya in late March.
The carrier and its 1,900 crew are due to return to the southern port of Toulon by mid-August, Longuet told Var Matin newspaper.
The move comes amid mounting concern in France over the cost of the campaign against Moamer Gaddafi's regime.
France and Britain are shouldering the lion's share of the cost of the NATO-led campaign, which is costing France 1.2 million euros (1.7 million dollars) a day.
Longuet assured that the recall of the Charles de Gaulle, which comes with 10 Rafale and 6 Super Etendard fighter jets and is accompanied by four frigates, did not mean Paris was scaling back its intervention.
French fighter planes are also deployed at NATO bases on the Greek island of Crete and in Sicily, Italy. French surveillance aircraft used in imposing a no-fly zone over Libya depart from bases in France.
'We will maintain the effort of France, which carries out a quarter of all flights and a third of all airstrikes,' Longuet said.
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