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courage is contagious

Viewing cable 09STATE11937, U) Secretary Clinton's February 5, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09STATE11937 2009-02-10 03:03 2010-11-30 16:04 SECRET//NOFORN Secretary of State
O 100328Z FEB 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 
INFO USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY CAIRO IMMEDIATE 
USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY KYIV IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY OTTAWA IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY TBILISI IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 
AMCONSUL JERUSALEM IMMEDIATE 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T STATE 011937 


NOFORN 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2019 
TAGS: OVIP CLINTON HILLARY PREL KPAL FR IR RS
NATO, UK, CN 
SUBJECT: (U) Secretary Clinton's February 5, 2009 
expanded meeting with French Foreign Minister Bernard 
Kouchner 

CLASSIFIED BY EUR ASSISTANT SECRETARY MARCIE RIES, 
ACTING FOR REASONS 1.4 (D) 

1. (S) SUMMARY: Secretary Clinton and French Foreign 
Minister Bernard Kouchner met on February 5 for 30 
minutes in their first bilateral meeting. The warm and 
open exchange followed a one-on-one working lunch and 
preceded a 20-minute press conference. The two agreed 
to coordinate closely on a wide range of issues 
including the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, 
the Balkans, GTMO detainees and Africa, especially 
Darfur. On Afghanistan, Kouchner emphasized the need 
for greater "Afghanization" and international "access" 
to everyday Afghan people, and asked for U.S. support to 
hold a second "Neighbors" conference to follow up on the 
initial December 14, 2008 event. On GTMO, the FM 
indicated Europe would help on a case-by-case basis, and 
asked the U.S. for assistance with a 15-year old 
Canadian national, Omar Khadr. The FM asked for a 
reaction to its Transatlantic paper, passed to the U.S. 
during France's 2008 EU presidency. As the meeting 
closed, the Secretary joked that the FM was "not even in 
her league" concerning criticism when the FM mentioned a 
new book critical of him that might spark press 
questions. END SUMMARY. 

----------- 
Middle East 
----------- 

2. (C) The Secretary opened the meeting by welcoming FM 
Kouchner and expressing appreciation for French 
leadership on a broad agenda of cooperation, which she 
said President Obama hoped to deepen. Kouchner 
congratulated the Secretary and said he looked forward 
to the pleasure of working together on a first name 
basis. The two then summarized topics discussed in 
their one-on-one meeting, beginning with the Middle 
East. 

3. (S) The Secretary said she understood that the issue 
of the Middle East was of grave concern to France. She 
expressed appreciation for French leadership on 
interdicting weapons into Gaza and with the Copenhagen 
process. She thanked President Sarkozy for his ideas 
and for French work in providing assistance to the 
people of Gaza. FM Kouchner said that he had met with 
Palestinian Authority (PA) PM Abu Mazen three days prior 
and found him completely isolated. There was a game 
being played among Arabs, most of whom, Egyptians 
excepted, did not care. He said "Abbas is lost. You 
tried, we tried but nothing has happened. The key, he 
said, was to figure out how to build up Abu Mazen in a 
government of national unity. Salam Fayyad was a 
fantastic PM who had ideas about how to open the Gaza 
crossing, specifically a tax paid by a group of people 
who would be acceptable to both sides just to get the 
crossing operating." It was especially important, he 
continued, to offer the Palestinian people a sign that 
the crossing was open because of Abu Mazen's 
involvement. He had to be seen as a leader. He said it 
would take weeks and noted that Hamas does not want to 
talk to Mazen. Still, it was important to help convince 
the Israelis to open the crossing. Kouchner cautioned 
that it would be difficult to get anything done ahead of 
the Israeli election on February 10. 

4. (S) The Secretary concurred that the situation was 
difficult. She added that confidence building measures 
were needed so that the Israelis would feel committed. 
It was important to persuade the new Israeli government 
to participate in the peace effort and be convinced that 
they could work with the PA. If Abu Mazen's government 
of national unity is to work, Israel needs to understand 
that it should work with him and that this development 
could help. She was encouraged by the actions that the 
Egyptians had taken against the tunnels. She said there 
was much to coordinate and supported the role of the 
Quartet, but agreed that little could happen in advance 
of the Israeli elections. She noted that the U.S. was 
conducting a review based on Mitchell's work. 

----------- 
Afghanistan 
----------- 

5. (S) The Secretary said that the U.S. was working on 
a comprehensive strategy and thanked the FM for France's 
contributions and cooperation. Kouchner noted that 
France had increased its troops to 3000 from 3300. He 
said there was progress in several areas, including 
civil society, but presented a mixed picture overall. 
He returned several times to problems with access to the 
population and suggested that this was the key. He also 
promoted Afghanization, saying it was important "for the 
people to take their own problems into their own hands." 
He expressed pride in the French hospital in Kabul as an 
example of what was possible noting that Afghan patients 
were being treated by Afghan doctors, and even the 
Taliban presented themselves for treatment. He said 
that Kabul is not Afghanistan, but that Kabul works 
because it has been "Afghanized." The rest of the 
country needs the same, but it will take years. He was 
also concerned about growing Iranian influence, noting 
that a huge Shi'a mosque had recently been built with 
Iranian funds. 

6. (C) FM Kouchner asked for the Secretary's support 
for a follow-up event to the December 14, 2008 
"Afghanistan Neighbors conference" that Kouchner hosted 
in Paris. The FM said the meeting had been very 
interesting, despite the Iranians not showing at the 
last minute, and should be repeated if the U.S. agreed. 
Kouchner put the conference in the context of a broader 
approach, stressing "there is no military solution in 
Afghanistan." 

7. (C) The Secretary took note of the proposal, but 
made no commitment on a follow-up conference. She said 
the U.S. believed that there had been some success with 
building the Army, but more problems with the police. 
Both commented on the strength of the new Minister of 
Interior. The Secretary said that the Minister of the 
Interior was an interesting person but that it might be 
necessary to deal with some of the more radical people 
whether we wanted to or not. On reconciliation, 
Kouchner said that there were some very bad people 
involved, but they were nationals of Afghanistan and it 
was important to start negotiations, including the 
negotiations in Saudi Arabia. Finally on the 
presidency, Kouchner said "Karzai is somebody. We have 
to talk to him, but there may be other candidates." He 
said Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi was such a person but, while 
interesting, he probably couldn't win against Karzai. 
The Secretary noted that Richard Holbrooke would travel 
to the region. 

----------- 
GUANTANAMO 
----------- 

8. (C) The Secretary expressed appreciation for French 
leadership within the EU on this issue. She said she 
was proud of President Obama's commitment to close the 
facility, calling it "a cancer" the U.S. wanted to take 
care of, but would take time. She said this was 
complicated, so we were asking friends and allies to 
consider taking some detainees. FM Kouchner said the EU 
27 had not yet reached consensus, but that they 
"accepted the idea," but would consider detainees on a 
case-by-case basis; Europeans do not want to create 
legal problems for themselves. They were working with 
three categories of individuals. First were "the best 
cases." Second, were those who had made individual 
requests for resettlement in specific countries and 
third without legal problems. There were many 
outstanding questions, such as whether they had refugee 
status, but because of the Schengen visa requirements, 
it was necessary for the EU to address this together. 
At the end of this discussion, the FM handed the 
Secretary a paper concerning Omar Khadr, a 15-year old 
Muslim of Canadian origin. The Secretary agreed to 
review the case. 

---- 
Iran 
---- 

9. (S/NF) The Secretary opened the discussion by 
alluding to the private conversation with FM Kouchner 
and their agreement that it was important to prevent 
further development of Iran's nuclear capabilities and 
its missile program. Iran's recent space launch 
complicated this effort noting that the Iranians had 
respected none of the internationally recognized 
requirements for a space launches specified in UN 
Security Council resolutions. The FM said he welcomed 
the U.S. willingness to consider direct talks between 
the U.S. and Iran. He said that the Iranians were 
waiting for the U.S. The launch had surprised the 
Russians, of whom he said "they are more affected than 
we being 2000 kilometers closer." He added that the 
sanctions seemed to be having some effect on the 
domestic population, but he ended by repeating the need 
for a Quartet meeting. He said that it was important 
for any approach to be done together with the Germans 
and the Russians, particularly since the Russians are 
closer to Iran and could be more easily targeted. 
Kouchner suggested not including the Chinese because the 
Chinese are "absolutely not useful" in this process. 
The Secretary said it was important to follow up, 
possibly with U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband on 
the margins of the G-20 Summit in London. 

--------------------- 
Russia/Georgia/Energy 
--------------------- 

10. (C) FM Kouchner told the Secretary that France had 
been surprised by the Georgian invasion. "We did stop 
it, but we didn't solve it." He continued that the 
South Ossetians and Abkhaz are a "sort of independent 
people" but he worried that there is no humanitarian 
access to the population. He said that Georgian PM 
Saakashvili had been "badly inspired; he fell into the 
trap." But the FM said the Geneva process should 
continue, though it might take months or years. On 
energy, he said the EU had been united, but then Poland, 
Romania and others had been completely cut off and that 
both Russia and Ukraine had been "absolutely awful." He 
said "a group of Europeans were trying to secure a 
pipeline from one country to the other." But he 
cautioned that the U.S. position on Missile Defense was 
also a factor. He complimented Medvedev as "a normal 
guy, at least better than Putin," and credited him with 
what he believed to be the sound decision not to put 
Iskander missiles in Kalinigrad. He said things were 
now more complicated with the Iranian space launch. On 
the whole, things were frozen, which was "not bad" as a 
place to be for the moment. 

11. (C) Continuing on Russia, Kouchner said that the 
main thing for the U.S. and Russia to begin to work 
together. "Let's talk to them," he said. He said that 
the Russians are "rough, rude, and brutal," but we 
should still engage them. Kouchner said Russian FM 
Lavrov was one of the most brutal, but was among the 
cleverest FMs. In any case, they were an important 
player and had to be included. 

------- 
Balkans 
------- 

12. (C) FM Kouchner said that Bosnia remained a 
problem, but, it was important to simply "follow the 
road." It was important to push the Serbian government 
closer to the EU, though he conceded this was difficult 
due to Dutch and Belgian objections to the failure of 
the Serbs to hand over Ratko Mladic to ICTY. Presumably 
referring to EULEX, he said there was success on the 
ground in Kosovo as the two sides were not killing each 
other and concluded that things were not in a bad place 
for the moment. 

------ 
Darfur 
------ 

13. (C) FM Kouchner told the Secretary he thought the 
International Criminal Court (ICC) would soon issue an 
arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al- 
Bashir. He complimented the Qataris for playing a 
useful role with their work in Doha. He said they were 
working with both sides, including the Islamists. He 
said it had taken two years to build toward success. 
EUFOR, a contingent of 17 nations deployed in Eastern 
Chad and northern Central African Republic, was a 
success and he expected a resolution before March 15 
when EUFOR will hand over its responsibilities to the UN 
(MINURCAT II). On the humanitarian front, he estimated 
that half of the displaced persons in Eastern Chad, 
mainly women, would begin coming home in Darfur by March 
15. 

---------------------------- 
Book and Transatlantic Paper 
---------------------------- 

14. (SBU) As the meeting ended, the Secretary said 
there was a lot to digest and do. It would require 
cooperation. On a lighter note, FM Kouchner said that 
waiting journalists might raise the issue of "The World 
According to K," the expose published yesterday accusing 
him of enriching himself as a consultant in Africa, 
tarnishing his humanitarian image. The Secretary 
dismissed the book, saying "One book? I have 25. 
You're not even in my league!" He said that "the first 
one hurts a little more than the others." The FM asked 
the Secretary for US reaction to the Transatlantic paper 
passed to the U.S. during the French presidency. The 
Secretary said she would review the issue and respond. 
Note: EUR passed the paper to S staff on 2/5/09 and is 
preparing a response to the FM). End note. 

15. (U) Participants in the Bilateral: 

United States 
The Secretary 
SCA - A/S Richard Boucher 
EUR - PDAS Marcie Ries 
NEA - DAS David Hale 
PA - Robert Wood 
EUR/WE - Pamela Spratlen (notetaker) 
NSC - Toby Bradley 
Interpreter 

France 
Foreign Minister Kouchner 
Ambassador Vimont 
Eric Chevallier, MFA Spokesperson 
Philippe Errera, MFA Counselor 
Emmanuelle Lenain, Embassy Spokesperson 
Aurelien Lechevallier, Notetaker 
Interpreter 



CLINTON