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French Foreign Minister Resigns


French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie speak after a meeting at the Elysee palace in Paris (file photo)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie speak after a meeting at the Elysee palace in Paris (file photo)

The French foreign minister has resigned after only three months in office.

Michele Alliot-Marie tendered her resignation on Sunday following weeks of criticism over her handling of France's response to the uprising in Tunisia, a former French colony.

Alliot-Marie became the country's first female foreign minister in December. The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, in a television appearance after her resignation was announced, said Defense Minister Alain Juppe will now serve as foreign minister.

Alliot-Marie drew unfavorable attention for her contacts with associates of Tunisia's deposed leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. She was also roundly criticized for taking a vacation in Tunisia during the uprising that led to the ouster of Mr. Ben Ali.

In a letter to Mr. Sarkozy, Alliot-Marie insists she has done nothing wrong, calling the attacks on her "political," intended to weaken the Sarkozy government's international relations.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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