President Nicolas Sarkozy plans Morocco trip without Cecilia as divorce rumours fly

15th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

15 October 2007, PARIS (AFP) - French first lady Cecilia Sarkozy will not accompany President Nicolas Sarkozy on a state visit to Morocco next week, his spokesman said Monday, again declining to comment on reports that they are getting a divorce.

15 October 2007

PARIS (AFP) - French first lady Cecilia Sarkozy will not accompany President Nicolas Sarkozy on a state visit to Morocco next week, his spokesman said Monday, again declining to comment on reports that they are getting a divorce.

"I have no comment to make on this issue," presidential spokesman David Martinon told journalists who asked about a spate of articles over the past week reporting that the couple had decided to end their 11-year marriage.

Sarkozy is due to pay a state visit to Morocco next week but the 49-year-old former model will not accompany him, breaking with protocol which provides for the president's wife to take part in such high-level trips.

"As far as I know, the wife of the president will not be on the trip," said Martinon.  Sarkozy is due to visit Morocco on October 22 and 23.

La Tribune financial newspaper at the weekend quoted on its Internet site a "generally well-informed source" saying that a divorce will be officially declared by a court on Wednesday.

L'Est Republicain newspaper, which first reported on its website an imminent separation on Friday morning, said it stood by its story and that "the only question is how the Elysee will make the announcement."

Cecilia has barely been seen by his side since he took office in May, fuelling growing speculation that she is unhappy in her role as first lady and wants to separate.

The couple have had a turbulent relationship and split up for several months in 2005 when she ran off to New York with an advertising executive. Reports say Cecilia has recently been seen in Geneva and London.

Throughout his campaign and the first five months of his presidency, Sarkozy repeatedly spoke of his attachment to his wife and projected an image of family bliss.

Photographs of Cecilia wearing an ivory satin Prada dress at Sarkozy's inauguration, surrounded by the five children, made the front pages of glamour magazines.

Speculation about Cecilia's absence ran high last week when Sarkozy traveled alone to Bulgaria and received the nation's highest honour for helping win the release of six medics serving jail sentences in Libya for infecting children with AIDS.

Cecilia had traveled twice to Tripoli as Sarkozy's special envoy and escorted the nurses to Sofia in July, winning hero status in Bulgaria but raising questions at home about her role.Sarkozy is due to visit hospitals in the southwest Gironde region on Tuesday and deliver an address the following day on the struggle against poverty before a dinner with former British prime minister Tony Blair.

The opposition Socialist Party described the coming days as a "black week" for Sarkozy because of a massive strike planned for Thursday in the transport sector and signs that the economy is not about to come out of its funk.

Socialist deputy Jean-Christophe Cambadelis said these would be "ten days that shook Nicolas Sarkozy's power" and stressed that the nation's economic problems were more important than the president's rumoured personal woes.

Sarkozy married Cecilia Maria Sara Isabel Ciganer Albeniz in 1996 and the couple had a son, Louis, the following year. She has two daughters, Judith and Jeanne-Marie, from her first marriage to television presenter Jacques Martin.

Sarkozy has two sons, Pierre and Jean, from his first marriage.

AFP

Subject: French news

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