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De Villepin to stand in for ailing Chirac at UN

Dominique de Villepin, France's prime minister, will next week stand in for an ailing President Jacques Chirac at the United Nations' meeting in New York, the venue where he won the admiration of the French public and the animosity of the US administration for his passionate opposition to the Iraq war.

Mr Chirac, 72, was yesterday released from hospital a week after being admitted with a vascular complaint. Doctors told the French president he should be "reasonable" and refrain from air travel for six weeks. However, Mr Chirac did not reveal any further details about his medical condition in spite of criticism that he has been excessively secretive about his health.

Mr Chirac had been desperate to attend the meeting of 200 world leaders at the UN to promote his plan to introduce a voluntary tax on international airline tickets to finance the fight against Aids, malaria, and tuberculosis. "Until the very last minute, the president of the Republic had wanted to go there," one of his aides told the AFP news agency.

The last paragraph of the quote above, gives me the impression as if Chirac ailings are more severe than they admit.

by Fran on Sat Sep 10th, 2005 at 01:29:33 AM EST

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