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Viewing cable 09PARIS504, DRC/ROC/NIGER: FRENCH PRESIDENCY'S READOUT OF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09PARIS504 2009-04-07 10:10 2010-12-04 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
VZCZCXRO1401
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHFR #0504/01 0971011
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 071011Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6000
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1689
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 2567
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 000504 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2019 
TAGS: PREL FR CG CF NG XA
SUBJECT: DRC/ROC/NIGER: FRENCH PRESIDENCY'S READOUT OF 
SARKOZY'S MARCH 26-27 VISITS 

REF: A. PARIS 399 
B. KINSHASA 291 
C. BRAZZAVILLE 101 
D. NIAMEY 234 
E. 08 PARIS 1501 
F. 08 PARIS 1568 
G. 08 PARIS 1698 

Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Kathleen Allegrone, 1.4 (b/ 
d). 

1. (C) SUMMARY: President Sarkozy's March 26-27 visits to 
the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo 
(ROC), and Niger were intended to promote democratic 
principles, shared business interests, and, more generally, 
Sarkozy's policy of moving away from the "France-Afrique" 
model of managing relations to a more modern one based on 
partnership, according to Presidential Deputy Diplomatic 
Advisor Bruno Joubert on April 3. Joubert said that Sarkozy 
had accomplished what he had set out to do and that the 
Africans with whom he met better understood French policy 
toward the region and where Sarkozy wants to take relations, 
even if they were not completely comfortable with the new 
paradigm. On the DRC and Rwanda, Joubert explained that 
France wanted to promote cooperation between the two and 
suggested starting with a number of small economic and 
development projects that would show quick results and 
encourage further cooperation. Joubert said that he planned 
to travel to the U.S. during the April 14-15 period and hoped 
to meet with officials at the Department (AF A/S-Designate 
Carson), NSC (AF Senior Director Gavin), and USUN (PermRep 
Rice). END SUMMARY. 



XXXXXXXXXXXX 

France-Afrique 
-------------- 

4. (C) Rather than provide a narrative of Sarkozy's visit, 
Joubert placed it within the context of France's evolving 
Africa policy and its movement, under Sarkozy, away from the 
classic colonial and post-colonial "France-Afrique" model and 
towards a more modern relationship based on shared interests 
and a partnership among equals (ref E-G). He said that the 
visit, most notably as expressed in Sarkozy's speech before 
the DRC parliament, was an extension of remarks that Sarkozy 
had made in Cape Town in February 2008 on the need for 
rational relationships free of the baggage of the past. 
Joubert said that the new policy faced several challenges, 
one of which he described as a predilection on the part of 
the French public and press to view relations with Africa as 
inherently "corrupt, sordid, and scandal-ridden." The public 
and press often looked at Africa only from this angle. One 
of Sarkozy's aims was to carry out a visit crisply, 
efficiently, and transparently. He wanted to show that 
France could deal with its African partners as 
straightforwardly as it dealt with its other partners, and 
Joubert deemed this aspect of the visit a success, even if 
its briskness and openness left the press, critics, and some 
Africans a bit perplexed. 

5. (C) Always seeking to put a negative light on relations, 
some observers, while claiming to condemn "France-Afrique," 
at the same time accused Sarkozy of trying to "rupture" 
French relations with Africa. Joubert said that neither 
Sarkozy nor anyone else speaking officially for France had 
ever used the term "rupture." The move away from 
"France-Afrique" was instead a "turning of a page" and a 
shift in direction towards a more modern and balanced 
relationship. 

6. (C) Thus partnership was an underlying theme of the 

PARIS 00000504 002 OF 002 


visit. In Niger, for example, where French 
extractive-industry giant AREVA and its activities were a 
central element of the visit, Sarkozy stressed not only the 
mutual benefits derived from AREVA's uranium operations but 
also the other positive aspects of AREVA's presence in terms 
of improved roads and infrastructure for the common good. 
The same was true for AREVA's activities in the DRC. 

7. (C) Another theme was democracy and good governance, 
with Joubert noting that France was unfairly accused of only 
supporting "old regimes." Sarkozy's speeches in the DRC and 
ROC stressed the need for both countries to adhere to 
democratic principles and that these principles were not 
something applicable only in the West. Joubert said that 
Sarkozy's stop in Brazzaville had to be managed "delicately." 
As also noted ref C, Sarkozy did not want to appear to be 
campaigning for President Sassou Nguesso regarding elections 
later in 2009, and Joubert pointed out that Sarkozy met with 
opposition figures to underscore that point. 

8. (C) Asked how the press and Africans viewed the visit, 
Joubert said that the press response was muted, in part 
because the visit did not take place according to press 
preconceptions. Joubert indicated that this was a positive 
development insofar as the press was forced to think about 
the visit. Joubert said that African leaders seemed to 
understand what Sarkozy's approach represented in terms of 
transparent, straightforward dealings, although they may not 
have been completely comfortable with it. Speaking quite 
candidly, Joubert said that "you have to understand, many of 
these leaders, such as Sassou Nguesso, have grown up with 
'France-Afrique.' When they used to meet with Chirac, it was 
all backslapping, jokes, long leisurely meals, and plenty of 
anecdotes about the old days, when they and Chirac were 
younger and coming up together. Sarkozy isn't like that at 
all; it takes some getting used to for some of them. There 
were a few comments about why Sarkozy didn't at least spend 
the night at each of his stops. They are beginning to see 
that Sarkozy is not here to carry on the old backslapping 
ways." 

DRC-Rwanda 
---------- 

9. XXXXXXXXXXXX

PEKALA