Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Virunga Park chief shot

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algerian election: Bouteflika votes in wheelchair

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algeria's media: a mixture of censorship and free speech

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair

Read more

WEB NEWS

Nigerian web users call for end to violence

Read more

FOCUS

Bitcoin in the US: A monetary revolution?

Read more

ENCORE!

Fast cars and slow trains

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

FACE-OFF

François Hollande: France's most unpopular president

Read more

  • Nobel-winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    Read more

  • Low turnout in Algerian election tipped to return Bouteflika

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Hundreds still trapped in sunken South Korea ferry

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Deadly attack on civilians sheltering in UN base in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Eurostar train delay "chaos"

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

France

French minister plays defence after controversial remarks on Tunisia

©

Video by Olivia SALAZAR WINSPEAR

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-01-20

French Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie spoke to the National Assembly’s foreign affairs committee Tuesday to rectify a statement made last week that suggested France would side with the Tunisian government in its standoff with protesters.

When French Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie said last week that France could help Tunisia control the protests against President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, she was slammed for appearing to side with a repressive government against the people.

Now she is going back on that statement.

“People sometimes misspeak”, Alliot-Marie said Tuesday in a hearing before the National Assembly’s foreign affairs committee. “It is inconceivable to believe that France could lend its security forces to another country”.

‘Standard procedure not to interfere’

Alliot-Marie, a fixture in Sarkozy’s centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, set off a mini-controversy on January 11 when she told the National Assembly, France's lower house of parliament, that France could “offer the know-how of [its] security forces to help control this type of situation”. The statement was slammed by the French left, with certain figures calling for her resignation, and in the press, where Alliot-Marie’s words were depicted as emblematic of France’s hands-off approach to the Tunisian crisis.

Tuesday was Alliot-Marie’s chance to rectify her position in front of lawmakers. “France did not see these events coming, any more than anyone else did”, she said of the riots that forced Ben Ali to flee the country on Friday after 23 years in office. “Ben Ali’s Tunisia was recognised by the international community. It was standard procedure not to interfere”.

Though Ben Ali’s human rights record has been a source of international concern, France has been mostly complimentary of his presidency in the former French protectorate; he has been particularly praised for bolstering Tunisia’s economy and taking a firm stance against terrorism.

But when Ben Ali left Tunisia on Friday, French officials said they would not grant him exile in France, which is home to a large population of residents of Tunisian descent.

Date created : 2011-01-18

Comments

COMMENT(S)