EU assembly urges review of Libya ties over nurses

 
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STRASBOURG, France, Jan 18 (Reuters) The European Parliament today urged European Union states to review ties with oil-rich Libya unless unless it frees five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor facing the death penalty.

The parliament resolution, which marks a step up in European pressure on Tripoli to release the medics following Bulgaria's January. 1 entry into the EU, urged the bloc to review ''the common policy of engagement with Libya in all relevant fields''.

EU aid and other programmes with Libya are limited but several European countries have extensive trade ties with Tripoli in sectors including energy and manufactured goods, and some lawmakers have called for such deals to come under review.

A Libyan court sentenced the five nurses and a doctor to death last month -- the second time in the eight year case -- for intentionally starting an HIV epidemic. Sofia and its allies cite overwhelming scientific evidence showing they are innocent.

REUTERS SHB RK1756

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