Friday, February 25, 2011

In Mexico and Tunisia, the Results of French Diplomacy's Faux Pas Continue to Reverberate

While Harry Bellet, Stéphane Davet, Michel Guerrin, Emmanuelle Lequeux, Renaud Machart, Marie Pâris et Thomas Sotinel report on the Mexican fiasco continuing — leading to a Mexican boycott of France's Année du Mexique, and the cancellation of one cultural event through France after the other (along with the attendant loss of investments, Mexican as well as French) — the newly-named ambassador to Tunisia is no more popular now than when he called for understanding, and for forgiving, Muammar Kaddhafi.

Boris Boillon promises to be polite in the future, writes Béatrice Gurrey in Le Monde, after being criticized in Tunisia, both in government circles and among common citizens, for having dissed Tunisian journalists (and walked out on them) and for having appeared in a Mexican boycott of France's Année du Mexique, and a swim-suit photo, all of which led one veteran diplomat, Charles Crettien, to pen a column in Le Monde calling the nomination of Boillon (and of anyone of his like) "shocking".

On the positive side, Boris Boillon — an Arab-speaking 41-year-old who served as ambassador in Baghdad — voiced support for George W Bush during the Iraq War! That, of course, makes his sins all the more unforgivable — among the Arabs as among the French…