France's Kouchner denies plan to marry: ministry

10th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

The French foreign ministry on Friday denied reports that 70-year-old foreign minister Bernard Kouchner plans to marry his long-term companion, journalist Christine Ockrent.

"I can assure you on Bernard Kouchner's behalf that these rumours are unfounded," ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told AFP by telephone from Brussels, where Kouchner was attending informal EU talks.

On Wednesday, a source close to Kouchner told AFP that the minister planned to wed 66-year-old Ockrent in Rome at an unspecified future date.

President Nicolas Sarkozy named Kouchner foreign minister in 2007, but before that he was best known as an outspoken founder of medical aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).

He began his public career on the left, as a fellow traveller of the French Communist party, later served as a minister in several centre-left Socialist governments and now sits on Sarkozy's right-wing cabinet.

Ockrent is a veteran journalist and commentator in print, television and radio and now serves as the head of France's state international broadcaster, which oversees RFI radio, and the TV5 Monde and France 24 TV networks.

© 2010 AFP

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