WikiLeaks: US was worried about Sarkozy after divorce

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US diplomats were worried in 2007 that French President Nicolas Sarkozy's divorce from his then wife Cecilia had left their ally more irritable and unpredictable, a leaked cable showed Wednesday.

"On permanent overdrive and intense in the best of times, Sarkozy's recent divorce raises questions about his ability to maintain his equilibrium and focus," the US embassy in Paris wrote in an October 2007 cable.

The leaked cable is part of a vast trove of stolen US State Department memos that are this week being published by the activist website WikiLeaks and a team of international dailies, in this case Britain's Guardian newspaper.

"Sarkozy has himself spoken of his dependence on Cecilia -- 'my source of strength and my Achilles heel,' as he put it," the indiscreet cable said.

"During their separation in 2005, a highly irritable, darker Sarkozy came into view -- the same one that reappeared at the Lisbon Summit the day after the announcement of the divorce," it continued.

"How much Cecilia really anchored him, personally and politically, should soon become evident, but we are betting on Sarkozy's ability to bounce back."

Within months of losing Cecilia, Sarkzoy remarried, this time to Italian-born supermodel Carla Bruni, but this relationship too has given Washington cause for concern as they work closely with France.

"In a major miscalculation in image management, Sarkozy paraded for media coverage his billonaire-life-style affair with former supermodel and current First Lady Carla Bruni-Tedeschi," a May 2008 US embassy cable complained.

"The media that he had drawn in to project himself as a hyper-energetic, no-nonsense reformer dedicated to solving the problems of ordinary French people, took its vengeance, portraying Sarkozy as a vulgar, insecure celebrity-worshipper focused only on himself and his place in the limelight. "The ensuing, widespread sense among the public that Sarkozy didn't really care about the problems of ordinary people sent the president's popularity plummeting," the US diplomats argued, reflecting received opinion in Paris.

Elsewhere in the vast trove of documents, US diplomats reveal their appreciation of Sarkozy's pro-American stance.

© 2010 AFP

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