Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Canada and Russia exchange snarky tweets

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Niger: Top opposition figure to be questioned in baby trafficking scandal

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Liberia: President dismisses top officials who ignored call to return home

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Google rivals Amazon with delivery drone tests

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000 (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000

Read more

DEBATE

US-Africa summit: Obama unveils $33 billion US investment plan for Africa

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in an explosive atmosphere

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's president

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

Europe

Cabinet shakeup replaces foreign, defence ministers

Video by Shona BHATTACHARYYA

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-02-28

French President Nicolas Sarkozy reshuffled his cabinet Sunday night for the second time in three months, naming Alain Juppé to replace embattled Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie. Juppé will hand his defence portfolio to Gerard Longuet.

AFP - President Nicolas Sarkozy tried Sunday to rescue France's rudderless foreign policy, axing his scandal-hit foreign minister, who was left floundering in the wake of uprisings in the Arab world.
              
Foreign minister Michele Alliot-Marie, 64, resigned, still insisting she had broken no laws in accepting flights and hospitality from an ally of the Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali just before he was overthrown.
              

Profile: Michèle Alliot-Marie

Sarkozy moved quickly to replace her with former prime minister and outdoing defence minister Alain Juppe, striving to restore France's reputation with the North African peoples revolting against their leaders.
              
"On the other side of the Mediterranean, an immense upheaval is underway," Sarkozy declared, in a brief televised address.
              
"By setting democracy and freedom against all forms of dictatorship, these revolutions open a new era. This change is an historic one, and we should not be afraid of it," he said.
              
"We should have one goal: to help these people who have chosen to be free."
              
The reshuffle came only three months after Sarkozy's last one, on November 14, which was supposed to give him the winning team with which he could fight the looming 2012 presidential election.
              
But the Arab uprisings, which have deposed friends of Paris, including Tunisia's Zine Ben Ali and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, caught French diplomacy off guard and undermined the government.
              
Alliot-Marie has been the focal point for criticism. First of all she made a not very diplomatic offer for France to help Tunisian riot police in their task of quelling popular revolt there on January 11.
              
Then it emerged she had holidayed in former colony Tunisia during the uprising, using the private jet of a businessman allegedly linked to Ben Ali's regime, from whom her parents also bought a stake in a company.
              
"I ask you to accept my resignation," she wrote in a letter which begins with a handwritten "Dear Nicolas" and a copy of which was seen by AFP
              
"Since several weeks, I have been the target of political attacks and then in the media, using, to create suspicion, counter-truths and generalisations," wrote an apparently unbowed Alliot-Marie.
              
"For the last two weeks, it is my family's private life that has been suffering real harassment at the hands of certain media.
              
"I cannot accept that some people use this cabal to try to make people believe in a weakening of France's international policy."
              
For Sarkozy, the need to create a new platform from which he can relaunch himself during his presidency of the G8 and G20 has become urgent.
              
The Socialist opposition said Sunday ahead of her resignation that Alliot-Marie's departure was "a fairly logical end" but "the trouble with French foreign policy is Nicolas Sarkozy."
              
Sarkozy's "foreign policy has marginalised us not only in the Arab world but also in sub-Saharan Africa," said Socialist party spokesman Benoit Hamon, because of what he called a "failure" and "complete fiasco".
              
Criticism has even come from within the French diplomatic corps.
              
An open letter from a group of diplomats published in Le Monde slammed the "amateurism" and "impulsiveness" of Sarkozy's policy. Former ambassador Jean-Christophe Rufin criticised the "damage" done to France's image.
              
Juppe will be replaced as defence minister by Gerard Longuet, the leader of Sarkozy's centre right party in the French Senate, the president announced.
              
Sarkozy's chief of staff, Claude Gueant, will become interior minister, charged with restoring the government's reputation as tough on crime with a view to the expected 2012 re-election bid.

 

Date created : 2011-02-27

  • FRANCE

    Michèle Alliot-Marie – a rare bird’s fall from grace

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French PM joins minister aboard 'Air Dictator' scandal

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Official travel must be 'compatible' with foreign policy, Sarkozy says

    Read more

COMMENT(S)