French ministers should stay in France for holidays: Sarkozy

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy Wednesday said government ministers should stay in France for their holidays, after two were hit by scandal for accepting hospitality from North African leaders.

"From now on, members of the government must prefer France for their holidays," Sarkozy told a cabinet meeting, according to a transcript released by his office.

"Invitations accepted abroad will be authorised by the prime minister and the presidential diplomatic unit... to see whether they are compatible with France's foreign policy."

Prime Minister Francois Fillon on Tuesday admitted that he had a family New Year holiday on the Nile paid for by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, intensifying opposition criticism of the government's diplomatic behaviour.

French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie had faced calls to resign after she admitted using a private plane owned by a Tunisian businessman who was alleged to have ties to the regime of the country's ousted dictator.

© 2011 AFP

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