French President Aids Release of Bulgarians
RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
Unidentified Man: (French Spoken)
ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: President Sarkozy beamed with pride as he spoke about his wife's mission at a press conference in Paris.
NICOLAS SARKOZY: (Through translator) She did an incredible job. This was a story about women and the humanitarian crisis, and I thought Cecilia could be useful. And she pulled it off with humanity, brio and courage.
BEARDSLEY: Sarkozy says his visit to Libya today is about helping the country rejoin the international community. Political analyst Christophe Barbier thinks that France and the West should beware of the pitfalls of their Libyan success.
CHRISTOPHE BARBIER, Host:
(Through translator) It's obvious that Qaddafi will be the long-term winner in this situation. He got to accuse the innocent nurses. He got money from the West. And now he's wrapping himself in international recognition. Are we going to pay too dear a price for playing Colonel Qaddafi's game, which is nothing but a form of state hostage- taking and terrorism?
BEARDSLEY: Cecilia Sarkozy's role in the release is controversial, and not only because it broke with the tradition of French first ladies taking a backseat to their husbands. Socialist lawmaker Norwin Mameyer(ph) said Sarkozy has transformed his wife into a substitute minister.
NORWIN MAMEYER: (Through translator) We're in a republic and not a monarchy. And in the republic, your legitimacy is earned to something called universal suffrage. I wasn't aware that Madame Sarkozy had been elected to office.
BEARDSLEY: For NPR News, I'm Eleanor Beardsley in Paris.
MONTAGNE: And you can find an analysis of the recent shift in the relationship between the United States and Libya at npr.org.
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