Meddlesome Mme. Sarkozy Jeopardized Talks on Medics

First Lady hogged credit after liberation
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2007 5:25 AM CDT
Bulgarian doctor Zdravko Georgiev, left, his wife the nurse Kristiana Valcheva second left, Palestinian-born doctor Ashraf al-Hazouz, second right, and the nurse Valia Georgieva Chervenisahka, right,...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The wife of the new French president gatecrashed delicate negotiations to free six foreign medical workers from a Libyan prison, then hogged the credit, Der Spiegel reports. After EU diplomats secured their release, Cecilia Sarkozy flew to Tripoli and escorted them to Bulgaria—making it appear she had won their freedom. But her meddling jeopardized the deal, insiders say.

Sarkozy's grandstanding triggered a torrent of criticism. She "set teeth on edge," according to the BBC, which quoted a Socialist politician calling the situation "a complete spectacle." A scathing Guardian editorial called the incident, which resulted in the liberation of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, "family therapy" for the Sarkozys, who have had marital problems in the past.