French government backs Tunisia scandal minister

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France's government gave its "total support" to Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, who faced fresh calls to resign over a visit to Tunisia during the revolution there, its spokesman said Wednesday.

Alliot-Marie "has the total support of the government team," spokesman Francois Baroin told reporters after a cabinet meeting, following fresh revelations about Alliot-Marie's visit to Tunisia in December.

Her family admitted buying a stake in a company from a businessman friend there in late December, during the deadly uprising that deposed authoritarian ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Separately an aide to Alliot-Marie admitted on Wednesday that the minister had spoken by telephone to Ben Ali, despite the minister's earlier attempts to play down her contact with his regime.

© 2011 AFP

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