Scandal-hit French foreign minister resigns

Alliot-Marie resigned after weeks of criticism over contacts with Tunisia.

Last Updated: Feb 28, 2011, 00:02 AM IST

Paris: Beleaguered French foreign minister
Michele Alliot-Marie announced her resignation Sunday after
weeks of criticism over her contacts with the former Tunisian
regime, stressing she had committed no wrongdoing.

"While I do not feel that I have committed any
wrongdoing, I have... decided to leave my job as foreign
minister," Alliot-Marie wrote in her resignation letter to
President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"I ask you to accept my resignation," she wrote in the
letter which begins with a handwritten "Dear Nicolas."

"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 Alliot-Marie, who
was named France`s first woman foreign minister in December.

"For the last two weeks, it is my family`s private life
that has been suffering real harassment at the hands of
certain media (and) I cannot accept that some people use this
cabal to try to make people believe in a weakening of France`s
international policy."

"I have too much consideration for politics in the
service of France to accept being used as a pretext for such
an operation (and) I have too much loyalty to and friendship
for you to accept that your international action could in way
suffer from it."

MAM, as she is universally known, became embroiled in
recent weeks in a series of scandals over her controversial
links to Tunisia, where she took a holiday during its popular
uprising.

Subsequent revelations about her and her family`s links
to the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and her offer for
France to help riot police quell the uprising there, made her
position increasingly untenable.

PTI