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New; French Envoy to Israel Known As Tough Negotiator

March 15, 1991
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France has selected a career diplomat with knowledge of the Middle East and the reputation of a tough negotiator to be its next ambassador to Israel.

But according to diplomatic custom, the appointment of Jean-Louis Lucet, 58, former deputy director of Mideastern and African affairs at the Foreign Ministry, will not be announced until Israel has approved it.

Lucet served as counselor to the French Embassy in Cairo from 1974 to 1978. He speaks Arabic and is reportedly studying Hebrew in preparation for his new post.

He comes from a family of diplomats. His father, Charles Lucet, was ambassador to Washington in 1972, when his career was sidetracked after American Jewish activists, enraged because France agreed to sell combat planes to Libya, stormed the Chicago hotel where the visiting French president, Georges Pompidou, was staying with his wife.

Pompidou reportedly blamed the ambassador for lax security. Slated to become secretary-general at the Foreign Ministry in Paris, an office equivalent to U.S. undersecretary of state, the elder Lucet was instead named ambassador to Rome.

His son will be replacing the current French envoy in Tel Aviv, Alain Pierret, long considered a warm friend of Israel who worked hard to improve Franco-Israeli relations.

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