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After French Ambassador Quoted Morocco is France's "Mistress," Araud on Acela?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 25 -- When a French Ambassador in the United States is quoted calling Morocco France's "mistress" in the context of Western Sahara, what happens? Well, previously scheduled meetings between the two countries have been postponed; there is renewed speculation that the Ambassador may leave his post.

All but one account say the ambassador in question is France's ambassador in Washington Francois Delattre; no less than Le Monde put the "mistress" words in the mouth of France's Ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud, click here for that.

 The Le Monde story is ironic, both because at the UN in September Laurent Fabius told a reporter who asked about French killing in Algeria that he would prefer to get a question from a "real" journalists, and because of Araud's recent statements on responsible and "micro-tabloid" journalism.

Meanwhile in Paris, Moroccan diplomat Abdellatif Hammouchi was served with legal papers relating to alleged torture in the Temara detention center. If that relationship seems to be unraveling, others ask: if Morocco is France's mistress, what are Mali and the Central African Republic, or even more attenuated, the Democratic Republic of the Congo?

Morocco loudly criticized the group behind the torture legal papers, ACAT, and that they were served on the ambassador's residence. France seems to have a different approach to claiming immunity for its diplomats abroad, including in the United States, and others' diplomats in France. Click here for Araud on this.

  Even before this flap, there were reports from Washington of Delattre leaving, and renewed speculation about Araud joining another EU counterpart in a move (200 miles) south to DC. On Amtrak's Acela express train service, when working, it's fast.

  For Araud, it might be time: he seems to have caught the Herve Ladsous syndrome, of citing articles he doesn't like and refusing to answer critical questions. Will the Morocco as France's mistress quote speed the spinning of the wheel? Watch this site.


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