French foreign minister lost in Tunisia fable

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Mediapart has learnt that Miled chose to name his aviation transport business Nouvelair in order to please Ben Ali: the name, in French, means New Air, but its pronunciation in French is the same as ‘New Era'. As of 1989, he was a contributor to Ben Ali's election campaign funds. He is believed to have contributed 500,000 Tunisian dinars (258, 645 euros) for the last Ben Ali election campaign, in 2009. Unconfirmed reports say he contributed a vast sum for a fireworks celebration following Ben Ali's re-election that year.

The jet in which Miled transported Alliot-Marie during her stay in Tunisia was in fact used mostly by Belhassen Trabelsi, brother of Ben Ali's wife Leila Trabelsi, as indicated by its registration details, TS-IBT. On January 14th, the plane played an important role in the exodus of the Ben Ali family.

 

Aziz Miled "at no moment put his plane at [my] disposition": Alliot-Marie answering MPs' questions before French parliament on February 2nd.

Alliot-Marie told French Members of Parliament: "Finally, as concerns the problem you raise of the plane, I just want to say one thing. Arriving in Tunis after Christmas, a friend who was travelling to Tabarka, our final destination spot, did indeed suggest to me that I travel with him instead of completing the two hours by car. He at no moment put his plane at disposition, I accompanied him only during the 20 minutes of the trip."

MAM justifie ses vacances tunisiennes à l'Assemblée © Le Figaro


On the evening of February 2nd, the minister gave this same version of a chance encounter with Aziz during an interview with her on the France 2 TV channel: "He said to me, given that I had to travel from Tunis to Tabarka, where there is no flight connection during the winter, he said to me [sic] ‘I must go to my hotel in Tabarka, I have a plane', his private plane that has 12 seats. He says ‘I am all alone, would you like to accompany me rather than go two hours by car?'".

Following new revelations of her holidays published February 5th. on nouvelobs.com, website of weekly news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, her ministry confirmed that Alliot-Marie had in fact also used the jet on December 29th for a return day trip to Tozeur, in the centre-west of the country. In a second interview with Le Parisien on February 7th, Alliot-Marie admitted also using the jet to return to Tunis at the end of her holiday in Tabarka. According to information reveived by Mediapart, the plane left Tunis empty to pick up Alliot-Marie and her family in Tabarka.

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