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France's Tunisia ambassador runs into more trouble

Reuters/Eric Gaillard
2 min

France’s new ambassador to Tunisia has threatened to sue media that use a photograph of him in swimming trunks. Meanwhile, video footage of Boris Boillon defending Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi has come to light, and a US diplomatic cable reveals he was mocked by US diplomats.

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“Kadhafi used to be a terrorist but he is no longer,” Boillon said in November 2010. “He has admitted he made mistakes. We all make mistakes and we all have the right to a second chance.”

The video, taken from French television channel Canal +, was posted on Le Post on Thursday.

Separately, French freesheet 20Minutes has quoted US diplomatic notes from three years ago, when Boillon was advising Sarkozy over negotiations which resulted in the release of Bulgarian nurses who had been detained in Libya since 1999.

“Boillon boasted that he had been able to listen to all the telephone calls that Nicolas Sarkozy made to Kadhafi,” says the cable, which was shown to the paper by WikiLeaks.

The diplomat said Boillon was bragging about his secret role. Boillon also said he was “one of only three people in the government to be totally in the loop” and pointed out that he knew more than Sarkozy’s then-wife Cécilia.

Boillon has also threatened to sue media that have used pictures of him that were supposed to be private, his lawyer announced Wednesday.

The photograph in question was posted on the Friends Reunited social networking site. France’s far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen brandished it during a TV political talk show and called Boillon a "Sarko boy", adding that French diplomacy was an embarrassment.

Her outburst came a day after Boillon apologised on Tunisian television on Saturday for snapping at journalists and storming out of a press conference. The incident had prompted street protests calling for his resignation.

 

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