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France - Mexico

Hollande treads delicately in Mexico after Trierweiler tweet

French President François Hollande and Mexico's Enrique Pena Nieto clink glasses in Mexico City on Thursday
French President François Hollande and Mexico's Enrique Pena Nieto clink glasses in Mexico City on Thursday Reuters/Henry Romero

French President François Hollande tried to limit diplomatic damage sown by his former partner, Valérie Trierweiler, on a state visit to Mexico Thursday. Hollande's two-day trip aimed to turn the page after a long spat over the imprisonment of Florence Cassez but a tweet by Trierweiler drew attention to another French woman's ongoing dispute with a powerful Mexican.

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Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Hollande declared that they had made a fresh start in relations after last year's release of Cassez, who had been jailed on kidnapping charges, and signed 42 agreements in the fields of economic cooperation, security and culture.

Background reading: Previous French scandals

But the French president was obliged to respond to Treirweiler's tweeted appeal to "help" Maude Versini, who accuses her ex-husband of kidnapping her children, at least indirectly.

Trierweiler was supposed to accompany Hollande to Mexico until the couple split up over his alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet.

During a meeting with the French community in Mexico City, he said that France "does not abandon anybody", adding "France must defend everybody who is French, whether they are abroad or on our soil."

Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius, who is travelling with Hollande, told journalists that the situation is "very delicate".

Since 2011 Versini has been trying to get her children - nine-year-old twins, Sofia and Adrian, and eight-year-old Alexi - back from her ex-husband, Arturo Montiel, who brought them with him to Mexico.

Versini accuses Montiel of abducting the children.

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Mexican judges initially agreed and approved her request to get them back.

But then they abruptly changed their mind and she is no longer has the right to visit them.

A former governor of Mexico's most populous state, Montiel has close ties to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

In a radio interview yesterday Versini accused Montiel of using “all his influence” to “buy judges” and said he "feels he is above the law”.

Montiel was included in Forbes magazine’s list of the 10 most corrupt Mexicans last year – the magazine said he dropped out of the presidential race in 2005 "following allegations of millionaire mansions and bank transactions in Mexico and France".

Hollande invited Pena Nieto to come to France on a state visit in 2015 on 14 July, France's national holiday, which he said is also "the festival of freedom everywhere in the world".Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Hollande declared that they had made a fresh start in relations after last year's release of Cassez, who had been jailed on kidnapping charges, and signed 42 agreements in the fields of economic cooperation, security and culture.

But the French president was obliged to respond to Treirweiler's tweeted appeal to "help" Maude Versini, who accuses her ex-husband of kidnapping her children, at least indirectly.

Trierweiler was supposed to accompany Hollande to Mexico until the couple split up over his alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet.

During a meeting with the French community in Mexico City, he said that France "does not abandon anybody", adding "France must defend everybody who is French, whether they are abroad or on our soil."

Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius, who is travelling with Hollande, told journalists that the situation is "very delicate".

Since 2011 Versini has been trying to get her children - nine-year-old twins, Sofia and Adrian, and eight-year-old Alexi - back from her ex-husband, Arturo Montiel, who brought them with him to Mexico.

Versini accuses Montiel of abducting the children.

Mexican judges initially agreed and approved her request to get them back.

But then they abruptly changed their mind and she is no longer has the right to visit them.

A former governor of Mexico's most populous state, Montiel has close ties to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

In a radio interview yesterday Versini accused Montiel of using “all his influence” to “buy judges” and said he "feels he is above the law”.

Montiel was included in Forbes Magazine’slist of the 10 most corrupt Mexicans last year – the magazine said he dropped out of the presidential race in 2005 "following allegations of millionaire mansions and bank transactions in Mexico and France".

Hollande invited Pena Nieto to come to France on a state visit in 2015 on 14 July, France's national holiday, which he said is also "the festival of freedom everywhere in the world".

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