Trierweiler glad to avoid Putin

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IOL pic jan30 france valerie trierweiler Reuters Valerie Trierweiler, the former companion of French President Francois Hollande. File picture: Danish Siddiqui

Paris - The former partner of French President Francois Hollande said she was glad she was no longer first lady as she did not wish to shake hands with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who is meeting his French counterpart on Thursday.

Valerie Trierweiler's broadside came after Putin described former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton as “weak” and made remarks seen to be sexist.

“Happy not to have to shake hands with Putin,” Trierweiler tweeted on Wednesday.

Putin, who is coming to France with a host of world leaders for celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Normandy D-Day landings during World War 2, will dine with Hollande on Thursday.

In an interview with French television on Wednesday, the Russian leader had hit out at Clinton who had accused him of trying to redraw the boundaries in eastern Europe like Adolf Hitler had done in the 1930s.

“It's better not to argue with women,” Putin told French television, adding: “But Mrs Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements.”

Putin, who has come under fire in the West for his aggressive policies in Ukraine and Moscow's annexation of Crimea, did not hide that he found Clinton's Hitler-like comments extreme.

“When people push boundaries too far, it's not because they are strong but because they are weak,” said Putin.

“But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman.”

Trierweiler, who officially split from Hollande in January after a magazine revealed his affair with an actress Julie Gayet, courted controversy in the run up to France's 2012 parliamentary election by tweeting “good luck” to the Socialist dissident rival of Segolene Royal, the mother of Hollande's four children from whom he had split for Trierweiler.

The tweet caused a stir and Trierweiler was initially defiant, but later admitted she “made a mistake” after Royal was defeated in the poll. - AFP


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