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courage is contagious

Viewing cable 09PARIS1473, SCENESETTER FOR YOUR VISIT TO PARIS -- NOVEMBER 8,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09PARIS1473 2009-11-03 11:11 2010-11-29 12:12 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Paris
VZCZCXRO7742
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL
DE RUEHFR #1473/01 3071139
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 031139Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7468
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 PARIS 001473 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/03/2019 
TAGS: PREL NATO PARM MOPS SENV KGHG AF FR RU PK
IR, GV, SG 
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR YOUR VISIT TO PARIS -- NOVEMBER 8, 
2009 
 
PARIS 00001473  001.3 OF 004 
 
 
Classified By: Classified By: Ambassador Charles H. Rivkin, for reasons 
1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1.  (S/NF)  SUMMARY.  Madam Secretary, your Paris Embassy and 
the French are eager to welcome you to 
France.  FM Kouchner quickly invited you to lunch or a 
meeting on Sunday, which is not a usual practice. 
He looks forward to talking with you about key issues, 
including Afghanistan, Iran, and relations with Russia. 
Kouchner recently visited Afghanistan, and he will 
undoubtedly be interested in hearing your insights 
about recent developments there and your views on Pakistan. 
France is our strongest ally in pursuing a 
dual track policy with Iran, and has been helpful in rallying 
Europe to a more clear-eyed assessment of Iran's 
nuclear ambitions.  Paris welcomed the U.S. "reset" with 
Russia and views Moscow as a strategic partner 
that cannot be ignored.  End Summary. 
 
-------------------- 
SARKOZY AND KOUCHNER 
-------------------- 
 
2.  (S/NF) FM Kouchner, coming from the opposition Socialist 
Party, is regularly polled as one of the 
most popular French politicians and is a high-profile example 
of Sarkozy's successful policy of outreach to 
the leaders of other political parties.  He has a solid 
working relationship with the demanding French President. 
Kouchner has also carved out specific areas where he has 
largely free rein and which play to his strengths and 
previous experience, including in humanitarian affairs, the 
Balkans, and democratization efforts.  Despite these 
positives, we have occasionally witnessed lapses in 
communication between the two offices due to Sarkozy's 
tendency to seize the initiative and "speak first, consult 
later" and his penchant for proposing high-level 
summits to cut through bureaucratic red tape. 
 
3.  (S/NF) Both Sarkozy and Kouchner are committed to a 
strong Europe with a strong transatlantic 
relationship with the U.S.  Both see Europe as our closest, 
most natural partner in fighting terrorism 
in Afghanistan and piracy on the high seas, or promoting 
peace as part of the Middle East Peace process 
quartet, fighting Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions, and in 
stabilizing the Balkans.  Likewise, they view France, 
and neighboring Germany, as the natural leaders of Europe. 
Kouchner and Sarkozy both have a pragmatic approach to 
problems, characterized by a high degree of "hands on" 
personal involvement in the issues that interest them. 
Your visit will give FM Kouchner an opportunity to showcase 
his close ties to you and to the Obama 
administration, vindicating France's unabashed "pro-American" 
stance, which is a significant reversal 
from the Chirac years when France defined its power more in 
opposition to, rather than collaboration with, the 
United States. 
 
------------------------------------------- 
AFGHANISTAN: SAME GOALS, LIMITED RESOURCES 
------------------------------------------- 
 
4.  (C/NF) FM Kouchner was in Afghanistan on October 17-18 on 
a "purely political" trip designed to consult 
with the main presidential candidates and to move the 
electoral process forward.  He cooperated closely 
with Senator Kerry to send a combined message of support for 
the acceptance of a second round of voting. 
Afghanistan remains a high foreign policy priority for the 
French government, but they have difficulty 
translating their interest into additional concrete military 
and civilian support.  French government 
officials, including both President Sarkozy and FM Kouchner, 
have long advocated that "there is no 
purely military solution" to Afghanistan.  When it comes to 
putting resources behind the statement, 
however, the French government has limited options, due to 
political maneuvering and real economic 
constraints.  As a sop to his own party in exchange for 
support for French reintegration into NATO this 
April, Sarkozy has publicly and repeatedly promised "not to 
send one extra soldier" to fight an 
unpopular war in Afghanistan.  This is now a political line 
French leaders will not cross, although their 
military has privately expressed both the will and the 
capacity for further contributions.  To 
compensate, the GOF is currently shifting some of its troops 
from a security posture in Kabul 
 
PARIS 00001473  002.2 OF 004 
 
 
to more active combat roles in the east, where the bulk of 
their 3,000 troops are now located.  In March, 
President Sarkozy created France's first 
politically-appointed Special Representative to Afghanistan 
and Pakistan, 
a post now held by Sarkozy crony UMP deputy Thierry Mariani. 
Kouchner fought this appointment 
in favor of a career diplomat because political appointments 
in the French parliamentary system 
are limited to six months in length, limiting the 
effectiveness of the position as it currently 
functions. 
 
5.  (C/NF)  There is great interest, particularly within the 
MFA and from Kouchner personally, 
to increase French civilian development assistance to 
Afghanistan, with a focus on raising the salaries 
of Afghan police and other security forces.  However, these 
goals are tempered by very limited 
resources.  After a battle with the Finance Ministry, the MFA 
succeeded in restoring French 
civilian assistance to Afghanistan to previous modest levels 
of 40 million euros (58.4 million U.S. dollars) 
after budget cuts threatened to limit French assistance to 
only 10 million Euros this year (about 14.6 million U.S. 
dollars).  One additional area for growth is the deployment 
by December 1 of the bulk of the 150 French gendarmes 
who make up part of the European Gendarmerie Force for police 
training.  They will be joined soon by Italian 
carabinieri and possibly small contributions from other 
countries in the coming year.  President Sarkozy is 
expected to finally take a long-delayed trip to the region 
next spring. 
 
6.  (C/NF) In September, the French President joined his 
German and UK counterparts to propose a conference on 
Afghanistan by the end of the year.  Kouchner wanted to bring 
other Foreign Ministers to Paris to meet you to 
pursue this European goal.  French officials have since 
stated that if the security situation allows, they would 
like the conference to take place in Kabul as soon as 
possible, with a possible second session taking place 
later, after the Afghan government is better able to 
prioritize its work plan and strategy. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
PAKISTAN: COIN AND CIVILIAN LOANS 
-------------------------------------- 
 
7.  (C/NF)  On Pakistan, the French are relative newcomers 
who have requested close cooperation with the UK and United 
States, particularly in areas of counter-terrorism and 
counter-insurgency assistance.  France is providing 
military assistance and security cooperation to Pakistan, in 
addition to civilian emergency and humanitarian aid. 
Paris officials complain that Pakistani cooperation in 
combating the Afghan Taliban refuged in their country 
is weak, if not non-existent.  France has given about five 
million euros (7.3 million U.S. dollars) in emergency and 
reconstruction assistance to Pakistan this year.  France has 
also increased its concessionary loan commitments to Pakistan 
since the April Tokyo conference from 200 to 382 million 
euros (573 million U.S. dollars).  The loans cover 
nine projects in the areas of hydroelectricity and energy 
efficiency.  France is still also dispensing funds 
made under soft loans worth 11 million euros (16 million U.S. 
dollars) for post-earthquake reconstruction; it is not yet 
ready to contribute to the World Bank-administered 
multi-donor trust fund for Pakistan as it was not clear who 
their 
partners on the Pakistani side would be and what safeguards 
there would be over the funds. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
IRAN: FEARS THAT WE ARE LOSING GROUND 
-------------------------------------- 
 
8.  (S/NF)  In their October 14 phone call, Presidents 
Sarkozy and Obama agreed that if Iran 
responds negatively to the uranium enrichment deal on the 
table, then we must take more serious measures, including 
additional sanctions.  Senior French officials believe that 
we are losing traction on this issue within the 
international community, as countries continue to engage in 
normal diplomatic and commercial relations 
with Iran (exemplified by Chinese business interests, Turkish 
PM Erdogan's recent visit to Iran, and Iranian 
President Ahmedinejad's planned trip to Brazil in late 
November).  Sarkozy's position is bolstered by his staunch 
 
PARIS 00001473  003.2 OF 004 
 
 
belief in non-proliferation (to maintain France's own 
deterrent capability), his real concern about the threat to 
Israel, and his personal ire at the way Iran has tried to 
manipulate France, including by holding French citizen 
Clotilde Reiss and Franco-Iranian dual national Nazak Afshar 
for alleged illegal participation in this summer's 
street protests.  Some senior French officials have suggested 
that Sarkozy's tough line can be useful as "the 
pointy edge of the sword" in meeting the Iranian challenge. 
As we plan next steps on Iran, Kouchner will 
likely be interested in your readout of your recent 
discussions in Moscow as well as the latest efforts to 
bring China on board. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
PUSHING ENGAGEMENT WITH RUSSIA 
------------------------------------------ 
 
9.  (C/NF)  French policy toward Russia under President 
Sarkozy reflects the belief that engagement with Moscow is 
the best way to influence Russian behavior.  Paris has 
welcomed U.S. efforts to "re-set" relations with Russia and 
has consistently emphasized developing a common approach with 
Washington toward Moscow.  French officials maintain 
that dialogue must underpin our efforts to elicit Moscow's 
cooperation; this is particularly true on European 
security, an area in which Sarkozy -- who last year proposed 
an OSCE summit on the issue -- seeks to exert 
French leadership. French priorities for strategic dialogue 
with Moscow include promoting economic 
cooperation; encouraging Russia to work through institutions 
with set rules; supporting Russian 
actions in public while taking a more honest approach in 
private meetings; and cultivating relations with Russian 
President Dmitri Medvedev, in the hope that he can become a 
leader independent of Vladimir Putin. Putin is due in 
Paris later this month, Sarkozy will go to Moscow in 
February, and Medvedev will visit France in March 2010. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
AN URGENT FOCUS ON CLIMATE CHANGE 
----------------------------------------- 
 
10.  (SBU) The French remain divided on how to respond to the 
Obama Administration's approaches to climate change. 
Most of the interested public and many in the government 
believe that interim 2020 reduction targets, and the level 
of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and concentrations at that 
time, will determine success or failure in slowing 
global warming.  For them, the EU's target of 20 to 30 
percent reductions below 1990 is the sole measure of an 
acceptable policy.  Even sophisticated observers are 
skeptical that long-term reduction goals legislated in the 
United States can be counted on as more than aspirations, 
especially if radical cuts are not imposed up front.  We 
have reiterated that U.S. laws are reliably enforced by the 
Federal government and by U.S. courts, using the Clean 
Air Act as our example.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
officials agree that legislation moving through Congress 
and the Administration's proposals would establish a system 
comparable to the EU's measures.  These officials 
regard Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo's public 
criticisms of Waxman-Markey as "insufficient on the medium 
term goal" as distracting attention from the need for China 
and India to reduce their rates of growth in GHG 
emissions. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
WANTS TO BE A PLAYER IN THE MIDDLE EAST 
------------------------------------------ 
 
11.  (S/NF)  The GOF is eager to engage with the United 
States on the Middle East peace process and worries we are 
not moving fast enough.  President Sarkozy and FM Kouchner 
continue to press for a Middle East peace summit before the 
end of the year, to be held under the auspices of the Union 
for the Mediterranean, of which Egypt and France are 
currently co-chairs.  A sense of frustration and ambition 
informs the French approach toward the Middle East peace 
process: they are frustrated that they must rely on the USG 
and on stubborn parties in the region to end a conflict 
whose persistence adversely affects their national interests, 
and they are ambitious to play a larger role in 
the peace process, in order to facilitate a successful 
outcome and to enjoy the prestige that such a role would 
earn them.  As a case in point, last week Kouchner had to 
cancel a planned visit to Israel and the Palestinian 
territories in part because of the continuing tension there, 
and in part because of Israel's refusal to allow him 
 
PARIS 00001473  004.2 OF 004 
 
 
to visit a French hospital in Gaza.  Nonetheless, aside from 
their criticism of the pace at which we have proceeded 
with negotiations, French officials continue to take concrete 
steps to support our efforts to broker peace among 
the various states and groups in the region: they have 
consistently affirmed our leadership role in their own 
bilateral contacts, in multilateral fora, and in public and 
private statements. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
INCREASING CONCERNS ABOUT U.S. FOCUS ON DISARMAMENT 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
12.  (S/NF) French officials are increasingly concerned that 
the Obama administration's commitment to an eventual 
"world free of nuclear weapons" represents a divergence from 
the French position on a strong deterrence policy. 
Furthermore, they worry that a focus on disarmament goals by 
legitimate nuclear weapons states will pressure them to 
cut their own modest arsenal and will serve as a distraction 
from serious proliferation concerns by states 
like North Korea and Iran.  The GOF would like to use every 
available forum, including the 2010 NPT Review Conference, 
to strongly and specifically rebuke Iran and North Korea (and 
were greatly disappointed by our decision not to do so 
at the September 24 UNSC summit).  Additionally, France is 
"psychologically" committed to a deterrent force 
as a symbol of its strategic independence and they will 
strive to maintain the "legitimacy" of nuclear weapons as a 
key element of military strategy.  Any suggestion that 
bilateral U.S.-Russian arms reduction talks should 
eventually include other nuclear powers, or that an FMCT 
should address existing stockpiles, are absolute redlines 
for the French. 
 
------------------------------------- 
A PARTNER IN AFRICA 
------------------------------------- 
 
13.  (C) France is struggling somewhat to implement Sarkozy's 
vision of a new approach to Africa, in part 
because of recent governance crises in a number of 
Francophone countries, including Mauritania, Gabon, 
Madagascar, Niger, and Guinea, where the need for expediency 
in bringing stability can sometimes trump 
loftier principles.  We are still waiting to see if France 
will, in fact close down one of its military bases on the 
Atlantic side, in Senegal or Gabon in an effort to streamline 
its presence in Africa.  That said, France is a 
progressively more open interlocutor on Africa and there are 
many areas where we are working closely, including 
pushing for a transitional government in Guinea, supporting 
efforts to deter sexual violence, and, increasingly, 
coordinating on addressing the AQIM threat in Mali and 
Mauritania.  The MFA's initial response to our new Sudan 
strategy is positive.  France, as the leader of the EU's anti 
piracy effort off the Horn of Africa is an 
important partner on counter-piracy and maritime security 
issues. 
 
RIVKIN