Among the families of the freed nurses, the First Lady of France is undoubtedly a heroine. Some French commentators are already drawing comparisons with Eleanor Roosevelt, Eva Peron, Raisa Gorbachev and Hillary Clinton. Others are not so enthusiastic about her role in such a high-profile international affair. Her role in the talks is something never before seen in France. What has turned out to be quite a coup for the French president is, perhaps understandably, not so popular with his opponents at home. Pierre Moscovici from the socialist party said: “If it was a humanitarian matter, then it wouldn’t be illogical for Madame Sarkozy to be there in her role as the First Lady of France. But this is a political matter and it’s a method of diplomacy of which I totally disapprove.”
The Green Party’s Noël Mamère said:“The second question you have to ask is what purpose the foreign minister Monsieur Kouchner serves. Maybe the President has decided to replace him with his wife.“The President, not surprisingly, defended his decision, and his wife’s role. He said: “There’s no point theorising about some new form of French diplomacy, or the status of the wife of the Head of State. We had to get them (the medics) out. We got them out, and that’s all that matters.”
There are those in Paris who say Cecilia Sarkozy would not be happy in a defined and closed role, dealing with humanitarian issues. Already, the government has said it wants to seek freedom for the dissident Aung San Suu Kyi, held under house arrest in Mynamar. And there have already been to-ings and fro-ings at the Elysee palace on the fate of the French-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt, held by Marxist rebels in Colombia.