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France - Tunisia

France replaces ambassador to Tunisia

Mourad Ben Abdallah/Wikipedia

France replaced its ambassador to Tunisia on Wednesday, amid criticism of the French government's response to the revolution in its former protectorate. Ambassador Pierre Ménat has been removed from his post in Tunis and will be replaced by France's envoy to Iraq, Boris Boillon.

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Boillon, 41, is described by government spokesperson François Baroin as a skilled diplomat with "all the natural sensitivity required for the new era that is now beginning in Franco-Tunisian relations".

Dossier: Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution

Ménat, who has occupied the post since 2009, was accused of being out of touch with civil society in Tunisia, according to French news agency AFP.

His reassignment comes on the same day that one of his predecessors, Yves Aubin de La Messuzière, accused the French government of ignoring diplomats' reports of social problems in Tunisia under former president Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali.

France's Prime Minister François Fillon has offered to help Tunisia in its efforts to implement democracy and the rule of law, Baroin added, as well as in election monitoring, fighting corruption and modernising the economy.

French Foreign Affairs Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie has come under fire for offering French savoir faire to Tunisia's security forces shortly before President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was driven out of ofice and there has been further heartsearching over Paris's longstanding links with Tunisia's rulers.

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