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 TUNIS: Tunisia's foreign minister Ahmed Ounaies resigned on Sunday, an official statement carried by the state's TAP news agency said.

The 75-year-old retired diplomat joined the reshuffled transition government formed on January 27 by Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi.

In the first government of national unity announced on January 17 he had been appointed secretary of state at the foreign ministry.

He had barely resumed work since returning from a visit to France on February 4, diplomatic sources said.

He had been heckled by foreign ministry staff on February 7 demonstrating outside and inside the ministry demanding his immediate departure after the Paris visit, as a result of which he took his personal belongings and left.

In France he hailed his French counterpart Michele Alliot-Marie as "above all a friend of Tunisia" at the very moment she faced calls to resign after admitting that she used a private plane owned by a Tunisian businessman with alleged ties to the regime of the country's since-ousted dictator.

 

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2011 

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