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Last Updated: Friday, 14 April 2006, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
French MP hunger strike wins deal
Jean Lassalle
Jean Lassalle said he just wanted to see common sense prevail
A French MP is ending a 39-day hunger strike over a Japanese firm's plans to leave his constituency after a deal was reached with the firm.

Jean Lassalle, 52, has lost 21kg (46lbs) since starting his protest and was admitted to hospital on Friday.

But he agreed to end the protest after Toyal told Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy it would not close its paint factory in Accous in the Pyrenees.

The firm employs about 150 people in Mr Lassalle's constituency.

It planned to open another factory 60km away and the MP feared the Accous site would close, despite the firm's insistence that it would not.

Like a sad clown. I'm not asking to win. I'm asking for good sense to triumph
Jean Lassalle

After talks with Mr Sarkozy, Toyal agreed to continue investment in Accous before investing elsewhere.

The interior minister told Europe 1 radio that a "happy ending to this affair" had been reached.

"I sincerely hope that we'll now be able to move on and that everyone will emerge from this affair believing a good job has been done and agreement achieved," he said.

"Once Accous is full, the Toyal company retains the freedom to invest wherever it likes in France. That's the agreement we've reached."

Loving life

Mr Lassalle, of the French centre-right UDF party, told the AFP news agency from his hospital bed: "I have just signed the agreement, so I have decided to end my hunger strike. I'm very happy."

Earlier on Friday, Mr Lassalle told France Info radio that he would not end his hunger strike until he achieved his aims, saying he was merely asking for common sense to prevail.

"I like the Springtime. It's lovely. I love life, everything about it. I love my family so much.

"I have no desire to die whatsoever but after nearly 40 days without food I can't stop. Like a sad clown. I'm not asking to win. I'm asking for good sense to triumph."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
MP Jean Lassalle talks about giving up his hunger strike



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