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Viewing cable 05PARIS1306, SARKOZY WATCH: FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER DE CHARETTE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05PARIS1306 2005-03-01 17:05 2010-11-30 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L PARIS 001306 

SIPDIS 

EO 12958 DECL: 02/28/2015 
TAGS PREL, FR, PINT 
SUBJECT: SARKOZY WATCH: FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER DE CHARETTE 
EXTENDS UMP HAND OF FRIENDSHIP AND COOPERATION TO U.S.

Classified By: Ambassador Howard Leach, for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: In a remarkable initiative, the new head of international relations of the governing UMP party, former Foreign Minister Herve de Charette called on Ambassador Leach March 1 offering a hand of friendship and cooperation. Charette applauded the positive results of U.S. policies across the Middle East -- on Israel/Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon -- and even assigned blame for the “embarrassing” downturn in relations over Iraq to President Chirac. Charette said the UMP would like to establish links with both major U.S. political parties, and connect with official U.S. visitors to Paris, as appropriate. Charette’s gesture, unprecedented in our memory, reportedly came at the behest of UMP President Sarkozy. The views he expressed are, just as clearly, those of the politician currently best placed to end Chirac’s tenure as President. End Summary

2. (C) Former Foreign Minister Herve de Charette called on Ambassador Leach March 1 in his capacity as head of international relations of the governing UMP party. (Note: UMP President Nicolas Sarkozy recently named Charette to this position. De Charette is also vice-president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly. He served as Foreign Minister from 1995 to 1997 under Prime Minister Alain Juppe.) Charette, referring to recent events in the Middle East -- Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt -- observed that U.S. policies have prospered. The UMP applauds these positive results. He and the UMP also agree with the USG thesis that “the Middle East is immobile politically because it is immobile economically.” He cited Secretary Rice’s view -- which he shares -- that it is necessary to work with the world as it is, but we need not accept that it must remain as it is. (This is a view, he added, that comes more naturally to a great power; smaller countries generally must accept the hand they have been dealt.) Charette said that this commonality of views had led the UMP to the conclusion that it should “organize a useful relationship with the U.S.” Charette spoke specifically of reaching out to U.S. political parties -- to its natural partner the Republican Party, but also to the Democrats. In addition to contacts with parties, the UMP would be interested in meeting official visitors to Paris, as deemed appropriate by the Ambassador.

3. (C) Commenting further on the current scene, Charette posited that “the relationship with the U.S. is the basis of French foreign relations.” The last two or three years have been “embarrassing.” Charette pointed the finger of blame in one direction: “The President of the Republic went down a route that didn’t make things any easier.” (Note: In February 2003, Charette was one of only a handful of French parliamentarians to warn against a French veto of a new UNSC resolution.) The UMP welcomes the positive turn of recent weeks, said Charette. He put particular stress on recent progress on Palestinian-Israeli relations, returning several times to a refrain, commonly heard here, that this is the key issue for European-U.S. relations. France, he said, needs to adjust its approach so that it does not always “fall on the same (i.e. Palestinian) side of the road.” The U.S., which tends to fall on the other side, has been right to reproach the Palestinians for never being able to control their terrorist movements. The second intifada was disastrous -- for the Palestinians, for the peace camp in Israel, and because it encouraged the establishment of more settlements. The new Palestinian leadership will not be able to escape the need to settle matters with the terrorists. The Israelis, for their part, cannot hope to keep 250,000 of their own in the Palestinian territories. The situation is extremely complex, said Charette, requiring all the energy of the U.S. and Europe. He said he remains extremely anxious about the situation, and skeptical. It is not at all clear that the conditions for peace are at hand -- bearing in mind the downward spiral that occurred after promising beginnings in the 1990s.

4. (C) Ambassador Leach took the opportunity to ask Charette his views regarding Turkey and the EU, given his chairmanship of the Franco-Turkish Friendship Group in the National Assembly. Charette said that the French people have a “deep and strong conviction against Turkish entry. It is a feeling that will not disappear over time.” (Note: This view, in contrast to that of President Chirac, reflects the opposition of UMP President Sarkozy and the majority of the UMP membership.)
Leach