09 September 2011 by defenceWeb
Operation Harmattan, France’s contribution to the mission against deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, has cost 320 million euros, according to French defence minister Gerard Longuet.
The figure includes expenses up to the end of this month. From the beginning of next month, France aims to scale back its Libya operation. However, on Tuesday Longuet said that there was no urgency to disengage from the conflict until the situation is settled peacefully.
France has spearheaded the NATO-led campaign in Libya and symbolically launched the first air strikes against troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in March.
By the end of August, French forces had flown 4 500 sorties over Libya and attacked 2 500 military targets, including 850 logistics centres, 170 command and control facilities, 480 tanks, 250 vehicles and 160 pieces of artillery, according to Le Point.
France is also facing a hefty bill from its other military operations overseas. Deploying French forces to the Gulf of Aden, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Kosovo will cost more than one billion euros, according to Opex 360.
In early July French Budget Minister Valerie Pecresse said the French military mission in Libya had cost 160 million euros. "Compare that figure to the 40 billion euro (French) Defence budget. We can absorb it," Pecresse said.