Juppe proclaims 'solidarity' with embattled minister

7th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

French defense minister Alain Juppe on Monday proclaimed his "solidarity" with Michele Alliot-Marie, France's foreign minister who admitted taking a controversial flight with a Tunisian businessman.

"I am always in solidarity with friends in trouble but I don't comment on a domestic policy question seen in New York or Washington," Juppe said in New York.

Juppe met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and was scheduled to meet later Monday with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Alliot-Marie acknowledged Monday the "shock" caused by her holidaying in Tunisia during the popular uprising there but refused to resign under pressure from political opponents.

She admitted traveling in a private plane owned by a businessman who was allegedly close to relatives of Tunisia's ousted dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

"I can see that it shocks people," said Alliot-Marie, in an interview in the newspaper Le Parisien published on Monday.

© 2011 AFP

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