Diplomats attack Sarkozy for pursuing 'amateurish' French foreign policy

Paris, Feb.24 (ANI): An anonymous group of French diplomats known only by the name "Marly" has hit out at President Nicolas Sarkozy for pursuing a foreign policy that is impulsive, amateurish and preoccupied with the nation's image in the media.

The group, named after the Paris café where the diplomats first met, published the broadside in yesterday's edition of daily newspaper Le Monde.

"The President treats the state administration with palpable contempt. He tries to make diplomats responsible for the nasty aftertaste of his own policies," The Independent quoted the diplomats, as writing in the daily.

The writers say the "Errors could have been avoided by listening to the diplomats."

The timing of the write-up is painful for Sarkozy.

French diplomacy is in trouble on three fronts. The new ambassador in Tunis ran into problems less than a week into the posting when he stormed out of a press conference.

French Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie committed a series of blunders. She offered France's help in putting down the anti-Ben Ali protests in Tunisia and borrowed a plane from an associate of a relation of the Tunisian President during the uprising.

Prime Minister François Fillon, meanwhile, admitted two weeks ago to having borrowed a plane from ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak over the New Year, and Sarkozy subsequently advised his ministers to take their holidays in France.

Adding to the diplomatic woes, the Mexican foreign relations department withdrew from the French Year of Mexico and criticised Sarkozy last week after the president said he wanted to use the Year of Mexico to air the case of Florence Cassez, a Frenchwoman sentenced to 60 years in prison for kidnapping in Mexico.

The Marly group said: "The tension with Mexico is the result of giving a public airing to a dossier that should have been treated with discretion."

Analysts say France's foreign policy is no longer taken seriously, especially in North Africa.

The government has dismissed Marly's accusations.

"It's a political pamphlet," Sarkozy's special adviser Henri Guaino told the radio station France Info.

"There is no argument, just snap judgements. It shows that the electoral campaign has begun," Guaino added. (ANI)

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