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Viewing cable 09PARIS119, FRANCE SEEKING COORDINATED EU POSITION AS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09PARIS119 2009-01-27 18:06 2010-11-30 16:04 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Paris
VZCZCXRO6236
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHFR #0119/01 0271814
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 271814Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5315
INFO RUEAWJA/DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 000119 

NOFORN 
SIPDIS 

STATE FOR S/WCI, EUR/ERA 
NSC FOR KVIEN 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2019 
TAGS: PREL KAWK KISL KPAO MOPS PGOV PHUM PTER FR
SUBJECT: FRANCE SEEKING COORDINATED EU POSITION AS 
PREREQUISITE TO ACCEPTANCE OF GUANTANAMO DETAINEES ON A 
"CASE BY CASE" BASIS 

REF: A. SECSTATE 6516 
B. BRUSSELS 79 

Classified By: Political Counselor Andrew R. Young for reasons 1.4 (B & 
D). 

1. (C/NF) Summary: In response to President Obama's January 
22 Executive Order to close detention facilities at 
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (ref a), the French have publicly 
given their support to at least review the idea of accepting 
detainees deemed not to be a security risk. Foreign Minister 
Bernard Kouchner said on January 20 and again on January 26 
that France "would consider positively" requests from 
Washington to accept detainees from Guantanamo who wish to 
come to France, on a "case-by-case basis, with a specific and 
careful assessment of legal implications and security risks." 
Philippe Errera, Advisor to Foreign Minister Kouchner, and 
French Foreign Ministry DAS-equivalent for security issues 
Martin Juillard said France prefers to have a coordinated EU 
position before moving forward on the issue. Errera said the 
goal is to bring the discussion to a political level, perhaps 
headed by EU Counterterrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, 
in an effort to give broad political and legal cover to those 
states wishing to accept detainees. Juillard said it is 
unlikely the EU will provide a plan or a framework for 
accepting detainees unless the USG makes an official request 
to the EU presidency, now led by the Czech Republic. While 
the French are eager to improve relations with the U.S. on 
counter-terrorism, Juillard said the GOF wants two conditions 
met: first, the U.S. must agree to resettle some of these 
same low-risk detainees in the U.S., and; second, any 
detainee being considered for resettlement in France must 
express an explicit desire to be resettled in France. 
Julliard noted a final decision on the matter would 
ultimately rest with President Sarkozy. End Summary. 

2. (SBU) Pol MC met with Philippe Errera, Strategic Affairs 
Advisor to FM Kouchner, on January 26. Poloffs met with 
French MFA DAS-equivalent for security issues Martin Juillard 
on January 27. MFA security directorate officers 
Jean-Mathieu Bonnel and Caroline Monvoisin, as well as North 
America desk officer Bruno Asseray joined Juillard. 


Common EU Position Sought That Would Permit Decisions by 
Individual Member States 
------------ ------------ -- --- -- --- --- --- --- -- -- -- 
-- -- -- -- -- --- - 

3. (C/NF) In response to President Obama's January 22 
Executive Order to close detention facilities at Guantanamo 
Bay Naval Base (ref a), the French have publicly given their 
support to at least review the idea of accepting detainees 
deemed not to be a security risk. Foreign Minister Bernard 
Kouchner said on January 20 and again on January 26 that 
France "would consider positively" requests from Washington 
to accept detainees from Guantanamo who wish to come to 
France, on a "case-by-case basis, with a specific and careful 
assessment of legal implications and security risks." 
Philippe Errera, Advisor to Foreign Minister Kouchner, and 
Foreign Affairs DAS-equivalent for security issues Martin 
Juillard said France is working to obtain a common EU 
position on Guantanamo, although decisions about accepting 
detainees would remain with the individual member states. 
Errera said the goal is to bring the discussion to a 
political level, perhaps headed by EU Counterterrorism 
Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, in an effort to give broad 
political and legal cover to those states wishing to accept 
detainees. Errera noted that this was also necessary on a 
practical level because members of the Schengen group of 
countries must coordinate any such decision inasmuch as any 
individual within their borders would be able to travel 
freely to all of the other participating states. Errera said 
that FM Kouchner was "more forward-leaning" on this issue, 
but that they had been surprised by the harsh public reaction 
across Europe to the idea of accepting "terrorists" on their 
soil. Paris believes that a common EU position would provide 
a broad framework for individual country action, just as it 
did in an earlier case involving the relocation of 
Palestinian fighters who had taken over the Church of the 
Nativity in Bethlehem. 

4. (C/NF) Furthering Errera's point from January 26, 
Juillard noted that while the French believe it is necessary 

PARIS 00000119 002 OF 002 


to have a common EU clearing house to accept detainees, they 
do not want to create a large bureaucracy that will prevent 
flexibility in the process. Poloffs emphasized that 
flexibility was a key factor and hoped France and the EU 
would not support a process that would prevent interested 
countries from taking detainees. Juillard said it is 
unlikely that France would make a final determination on 
their ability to accept detainees without some type of 
process in place at the EU level. He also noted it is 
unlikely the EU would provide a plan or a framework for 
accepting detainees unless the USG makes an official request 
to the EU presidency, now led by the Czech Republic. 


EU Acceptance Conditional 
------------------------- 

5. (C/NF) While the French are open to the idea of accepting 
those detainees who, according to U.S. authorities, do not 
pose a security risk, the French believe it is necessary for 
two requirements to be met: first, the U.S. must agree to 
resettle some of these same low-risk detainees in the U.S., 
and; second, any detainee being considered for resettlement 
in France must express an explicit desire to be resettled in 
France. Julliard noted that a final decision on the matter 
rests at the presidential level with the advice of the 
Ministers of Foreign affairs and the interior. 


No EU States Opposed, But Still No Consensus 
-------------------------------------------- 

6. (C/NF) Juillard said there were no indications that EU 
members were blocking the idea of taking former detainees. 
However, some countries have stated flatly they would not be 
taking any Guantanamo detainees. 


Desire to Improve Franco-American Relations 
------------------------------------------- 

7. (C/NF) Juillard noted on three separate occasions that 
part of France's calculation on the detainee issue is how 
they can support the Obama Administration in a hope of 
improving Franco-American relations. He continued that the 
Franco-American counter-terrorism relationship was so far 
good, but there was vast room for improvement and he hoped we 
would work more closely in the coming months. Juillard was 
quick to point out that at the end of their EU presidency in 
December of last year, the French put forth the idea that the 
EU should be considering the detainee issue which finally 
took place on January 26. 


PEKALA