Sarkozy raps FM for Tunisia holiday, spares PM on Egypt

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday gave his foreign minister a public dressing down for holidaying in Tunisia while the country was in the middle of a revolt that eventually ousted its dictator.

"It was not the best idea to go Tunisia" for a holiday in late December, he said in a prime-time television interview in which he also said he "understood" concerns about his prime minister's holiday at the Egyptian president's expense.

But Sarkozy said Prime Minister Francois Fillon's family holiday on the Nile -- largely paid for by Egypt -- was not a "fault."

Fillon revealed on Tuesday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak paid for his family holiday on the Nile last month, fuelling outrage among the political opposition.

Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie earlier faced calls to resign for using the private plane of a businessman allegedly close to Tunisia's ousted dictator while on holiday in the country during the revolt there.

© 2011 AFP

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