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Viewing cable 09PARIS1526, FRANCE AND BRAZIL: THE START OF A LOVE AFFAIR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09PARIS1526 2009-11-17 15:03 2010-12-05 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHFR #1526/01 3211521
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171521Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7538
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 2339
C O N F I D E N T I A L PARIS 001526 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/12/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MASS BR FR
SUBJECT: FRANCE AND BRAZIL: THE START OF A LOVE AFFAIR 

Classified By: Classified By: Kathleen Allegrone, Minister Counselor, r 
eason 1.4, b and d. 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Considered "a love fest" by the MFA, the 
growing Franco-Brazilian relationship under Presidents 
Sarkozy and Lula is likely to result in more political, 
diplomatic, economic, and military engagement in the next 
three years and throughout Sarkozy's time in office. 
Committed to expanding France's role as a global player, 
Sarkozy is preparing for the French G-8 and G-20 presidency 
in 2011 with a foreign policy of reaching out to emerging 
powers in an effort to promote France's international clout. 
His direct involvement in the not yet concluded Rafale 
fighter jet sale to Brazil highlights his use of his personal 
ties with Lula to persistently court the regional giant and 
will serve as a model of French entree into Latin America and 
beyond. In Paris on November 14, Lula and Sarkozy met to 
address climate change issues which included an announcement 
that Sarkozy will travel to Latin America next week which we 
view as a continuation of the French President,s charm 
offensive. Septels will address economic and environmental 
aspects of this bilateral relationship. Post welcomes 
Embassy Brasilia's comments on this assessment. END SUMMARY. 

MOBILIZING THE EMERGING POWERS 
------------------------------ 
2. (C) Highly encouraged by the growing importance of the 
G-20 precipitated by the economic crisis, President Nicholas 
Sarkozy is recalibrating his policies by increasingly 
courting populous, non-aligned states in the hopes of 
extending French international influence. Ahead of assuming 
both the G-8 and G-20 presidency in 2011, Sarkozy has been 
wooing what he calls "countries which are bridgeheads," or 
states with which France has traditionally not had a close 
relationship, and forming a body of allies that will help the 
GOF refashion its image as a key leader in a multi-polar 
world. (See septel on economic and G-20 issues.) 

3. (C) In his August 26 annual address to French diplomats, 
Sarkozy declared that the G-8 should be expanded to include 
Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa, and Egypt to form 
the G-14, or what he has dubbed with Lula as the &Alliance 
for Change,8 promising to implement the change during the 
French G-8 presidency. Even before becoming President, he 
has demonstrated a policy of actively pursuing the potential 
six new members of the G-14 formation, starting with Brazil. 
Employing multi-billion dollar military and civilian trade 
deals as his calling card, Sarkozy has successfully managed 
to forge extremely close ties with Brazil in the past two 
years, picking up from where his predecessor Chirac left off 
in a previous attempt to woo the world,s fifth most populous 
nation of 200 million. 

LIKE "LOOKING IN THE MIRROR" 
---------------------------- 
4. (C) Having first met in 2007, Brazilian embassy contacts 
in Paris described the initial bilateral meeting as the 
"start of the love affair" where Sarkozy and Luiz Inacio Lula 
da Silva discovered that they shared "a vision of a new 
multilateralism" in global governance and the view of Brazil 
as a vast market and regional platform for France. Sarkozy 
has often remarked that the two agree on a "near totality of 
issues," including economic recovery, climate change, and 
security. Brazilian diplomats noted that the two men have 
very similar personalities and that Lula has often commented 
that looking at Sarkozy is like "looking in the mirror." The 
two leaders have put an emphasis on their warm personal 
chemistry and France's status as the only EU country sharing 
a border with Brazil, with French Guiana located just north 
of South America's largest country. The "unique" bilateral 
partnership and close friendship between the energetic 
Sarkozy and the charismatic and popular Lula is of particular 
note given that the Brazilian president does not speak 
English or French and the relationship is conducted almost 
exclusively through interpreters. Nonetheless, Brazilian 
diplomats based in Paris commented that the two men speak "a 
distinct common language" motivated by their drive to reshape 
the world order. 

5. (C) Explaining that Chirac was responsible for starting 
the strategic relationship with Brazil based on the two 
countries' long history of common values, MFA Assistant 
Secretary for the Americas Elisabeth Beton-Delegue echoed the 
Brazilians on October 7, calling the friendship between 
Sarkozy and Lula a real "love story" and noted that Brazil 
represents one of France's diplomatic and commercial 
priorities in the Americas under the current French 
President. Sarkozy met with Lula four times in 2008 and has 
already held four bilateral meetings with his Brazilian 
counterpart in 2009. First Lady Carla Bruni did not 
participate in the French President's most recent trip to 
Brasilia to the disappointment of the Brazilian public, who 
reportedly greatly appreciate the fact that France's first 
couple often vacation in their country, according to the 
Brazilian embassy in Paris. Comment: We judge that Sarkozy 
takes full advantage of Carla Bruni,s individual popularity 
and their popularity as a couple to advance French national 
interests in Brazil. 

FRANCO-BRAZILIAN BILATERAL RELATIONS 
------------------------------------ 
6. (C) The close relationship between Sarkozy and Lula grew 
from solid foundations. As France's leading trade partner in 
Latin America, Brazil hosts over 420 French companies which 
employ approximately 400,000 people. French exports totaled 
over $5 billion and Brazilian exports to France over $6 
billion in 2008. The Brazilians have a well established 
military relationship with the French that dates back to the 
mid-1980s, most recently including a $12 billion arms and 
technology transfer deal passed by the Brazilian Senate on 
September 3, in which France will help Brasilia establish 
their nascent nuclear submarine program, according to 
Brazilian Embassy sources in Paris. 

7. (C) In addition, Brazil is France's leading regional 
partner for cultural, scientific, and technical cooperation. 
Three French secondary schools in Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, 
and Brasilia have a total of 2,200 students, half of which 
are French nationals. Considered the most culturally 
influential foreign country by our Brazilian diplomatic 
contacts, the Alliance Francaise in Brazil constitutes the 
oldest and most extensive in the world, with 74 
establishments in 52 towns. Brazil is currently celebrating 
the "Year of France," with a series of cultural and 
cooperative events in commerce and technology to reciprocate 
the "Year of Brazil" in France in 2005. Their embassy in 
Paris noted that Brazil is currently engaging in tri-lateral 
cooperation with the French on agricultural projects in a 
host of African countries (Cameroon, Mozambique, Uganda) and 
are interested in developing their foreign policy initiatives 
in the region, as they have a large Afro-Brazilian 
population. Further illustrating the strength of the 
existing Franco-Brazilian ties, Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe 
was made an "honorary citizen" of the city of Rio de Janeiro 
on October 27 by his counterpart mayor, Eduardor Paes, after 
the two men signed an agreement focused on the revitalization 
and renovation of Rio's port areas. Both countries also 
shared recent grief over the loss of 228 people onboard Air 
France Flight 447 in June, when the Airbus A330 disappeared 
over the Atlantic Ocean during a Rio de Janeiro-Paris flight. 
Over 500 relatives of the victims and 40 members of Air 
France held a memorial service on November 7 in Rio, with 
junior French minister Alain Joyandet, in charge of overseas 
cooperation, representing the GOF. 

THE "F-X2" PROJECT 
------------------ 
8. (C) Paris used the positive political climate to try to 
position the Rafale as the winner in the competition to equip 
the Brazilian Air Force with new fighter aircraft, in the 
hopes of edging out the American F/A-18 Super Hornet and the 
Swedish Grippen. Politically motivated, the Brazilian Foreign 
Ministry decision to publicly announce their intention to go 
with French company Dassault, which makes the Rafale, over 
the Brazilian Air Force's preferred Super Hornet stemmed from 
Lula's close relationship with Sarkozy. Although the deal 
known as "F-X2" or the fleet expansion is still unsettled, 
the French President did much to persuade his Brazilian 
counterpart to lean toward the French-made fighter jets in 
his two-day trip to Brasilia, where he dined with Lula and 
was the special guest at Brazil's September 7 Independence 
Day celebrations, which featured French Foreign Legion troops 
and an over-flight of French planes. In so doing, he 
attempted to demonstrate that his political ties with Lula 
are ultimately reinforced by industrial deals. Sarkozy 
presented the myth that France is the perfect partner for 
states that do not want to rely on U.S. technology, even 
though the U.S. has agreed in principle to transfer relevant 
technology if Brazil purchases the F-18. However, if the 
Rafale sale goes through, Dassault may have to request 
export-control licenses from the U.S. for parts built with 
American technology. Although the F-X2 decision has yet to 
be confirmed by Brazil, the GOF appears confident that it has 
beaten out the American and Swedish competition thanks to 
Sarkozy's diplomatic efforts. Moreover, Brazilian poloff 
Bruno de Lacerda Carrilho in Paris revealed on October 8 that 
Brasilia has been particularly receptive to such personal 
engagement at the Presidential level by France, posing the 
question of whether Obama would become personally involved. 
Marking his fifth visit to Brazil this year, Sarkozy is 
scheduled to travel to Manaus on November 26 for the Summit 
of Amazon countries and is expected to advance his broad 
political and commercial objectives with Brazil. 

9. (C) Leveraging his personal rapport with Lula to advance 
the bilateral relationship, Sarkozy depicted the union as "a 
balanced partnership with two legs, one civilian and the 
other military. The military has progressed faster but the 
civilian will eventually win out." The two leaders have 
already signed off on the $12 billion purchase of five 
submarines, four conventional and Latin America's first 
nuclear-propelled submarine, to be built in a new shipyard at 
Itaguai, as well as 50 military transport helicopters that 
will be assembled in Minas Gerais. (Comment: The 
conventional submarines incorporate U.S.-origin GE Marine 
engines.) At the same time, Brazil announced its intention 
to begin negotiations to purchase the 36 Rafale fighter jets 
which could increase the financial transaction to $20 
billion if the deal officially goes through. The French have 
from the start guaranteed to give the Brazilians Rafale 
software source codes that represent the very digital heart 
of the aircraft, a step we understand the others bidders were 
reluctant at first to take. After Lula complained to Sarkozy 
about the "absurd price" of the Rafales at $80 million each, 
MFA sources state that the French president sent him a 
personal letter stressing French willingness to participate 
in the "unrestricted transfer" of technological intelligence" 
that the Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim had made 
known was a prerequisite for major arms deals in April. 
Labeled the "French comparative advantage," the technology 
transfer appealed to Brazil's desire to not only purchase the 
Rafale but to manufacture the aircraft in-country and 
possibly sell them throughout Latin America by 2030, stated 
the Brazilian pol-mil attache Marcus Rector Toledo Silva in 
Paris to poloff on September 11. 

10. (C) According to Brazilian pol-mil attache Silva, the 
fighter jet saga was spurred by the release of the Brazilian 
National Defense Strategy in December 2008. He noted that 
the Brazilian Air Force has 110 jets dating from the 1970s 
and 1980s that are too old and outdated for a country whose 
needs include patrolling 5 million square miles of territory, 
10.5 million miles of national border, and vast offshore oil 
platforms. Brazil's most modern aircraft are 12 French 
Mirage 2000s, purchased second-hand and approaching their 
retirement dates. By contrast, neighbors Chile and Venezuela 
have 29 F-16s and 24 Sukhoi 30s respectively, both 
representing the most advanced models available. With Hugo 
Chavez recently buying over $3 billion in aircraft, tanks, 
and assault weapons from Russia, Brazil also seeks to enhance 
its regional military capabilities. Thus the deal brokered 
by Sarkozy was key for Dassault, bilateral defense ties, and 
boosting civilian sector trade over the long term. In the 
middle of all the media uproar however, two Rafale jets fell 
into the Mediterranean, provoking much discussion in the 
French and Brazilian press about the fact that the jets had 
never been sold outside of France. The crash also raised 
questions about why the Rafale's trade deal during the 
Moroccan fighter competition in 2008 fell through. 

FRENCH CONTRIBUTION TO CREATING A MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------- 
11. (C) As Lula has repeatedly stated, Brazil has ambitions 
of becoming a world power in the coming decades and believes 
the key is through the acquisition of certain technological 
and military autonomy. MFA contacts claim that unlike the 
U.S. relationship, France is ready to address Brazil's trade 
and technological development needs. Consequently, the 
recently signed bilateral agreements symbolize more than the 
purchase of armaments, commented Brazilian poloff de Lacerdo 
Carrilho. Rather, he stated that they denote the creation of 
the largest military industrial complex in the southern 
hemisphere for the emerging industrial superpower, home to 
the seventh largest oil reserves in the world and the largest 
area of natural biodiversity in the Amazon. In the last two 
years, Brazil has announced the discovery of huge offshore 
oil reserves called Pre-salt in ultra-deep waters in the 
Atlantic that could finance its rise to first world status, 
according to Lula. The country also has vast natural 
resources in timber, gold, and uranium in the Amazon, 
allegedly being exploited illegally by groups said to include 
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Brazil 
seeks to protect its riches and assert itself as a new 
military power and France is "ready to fully support Brazil 
as an emerging power," said MFA Assistant Secretary for the 
Americas Beton-Delegue to poloffs on October 7. 

12. (C) Under Sarkozy, France has become a consistent 
champion of all Brazilian aspirations, backing efforts for 
Brazil's ascent to a permanent seat on the UNSC, a 
long-standing Brazilian ambition. France also voted for and 
strongly supported Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Olympics 
in early September and was one of the first countries to 
congratulate Brazil on its victory. MFA Brazil desk officer 
told poloff that as usual, Sarkozy had the foresight to 
develop good relations with Brazil, which is set to showcase 
two of the world's greatest sporting events with the 2014 
World Cup final scheduled to be played in Rio. Embassy 
Brazil contacts in Paris believe that the Franco-Brazilian 
relationship is only getting started and envision an 
expansion of the civilian cooperation to possibly include 
industrial contracts for aerospace and transportation in the 
upcoming months, once the Rafale deal is concluded. Hinting 
at rumors that Brazil could buy as many as 100 French-made 
fighter jets, Brazilian poloff de Lacerdo Carrilho suggested 
that there is much more to come of the bilateral 
relationship, whether the F-X2 deal goes through or not. 

13. (C) COMMENT: The deepening partnership with Brasilia 
provides France with greater entre into Latin America. A 
strategically symbiotic relationship, French interest in 
Brazil seems to benefit both countries. Lula's decision to 
back the purchase of French fighter jets indicates the 
deepening Franco-Brazilian relationship and demonstrates the 
increasing political, diplomatic, and specifically commercial 
success of Sarkozy's courtship. Sarkozy is expected to shift 
into diplomatic overdrive in 2011 to boost his 2012 
re-election campaign and can point to his foreign policy 
triumph with Brazil as an indication of his prowess. As the 
Brazilians continue to hold bidders in suspense over their 
fleet renovation project due to be finalized by the end of 
the year, look for Sarkozy to reappear in the southern 
hemisphere with his familiar calling card of military and 
civilian contracts. Post welcomes Embassy Brasilia's 
perspectives on this Paris-based assessment of the growing 
Franco-Brazilian relationship. 

RIVKIN