Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wikileaks cables: France (1)

And now let's see what has been cooking in Paris.

For practical reasons, I'm just exploring here the 2009-10 cables, which anyhow are at least half of all the leaks. Here there are the ones dated in 2010 (Jan-Feb):

NATO's new role, Russia, Iran, China, nukes, etc.

(S/NF) SecDef observed that Russia usually followed China's lead on North Korea, whereas China usually followed Russia on Iran.

USA "prohibits" EU security role, France protests:

(C) Interpreting SecDef's latter comment as prohibiting an EU security role, Kouchner dissented and said that since 500 million people live in the European Union, the EU needed to be able to adequately protect them. Gates observed that France was just one of 5 or 6 nations that spent more than 2 percent of GDP on defense, and that if the EU decided it needed an independent security role, it could reduce number of forces available to NATO and cripple the Alliance.

Iran sanctions, Pakistani military

(S/NF) The GOF remains concerned about enforcing sanctions with Brazil and Turkey, said Richier, because both have considerable ties to Iran. He said that Turkey has made clear it does not want to suffer economically, as it has in the past. Richier noted France's concern over Turkey's "regional policy" towards Iran, whereas it views Brazil's engagement as being more nave and possibly based on misinterpretation of the Obama decision to try engagement first (without Brazil knowing what limits on that engagement should be).


On the role of the Pakistani military, Zerinini said General Kayani has "learned the lesson of Musharraf" and was staying behind the scenes. However, he is manipulating the government and parliament, including to prevent change on Pakistan's policy towards Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghan border, and also to stir up controversy regarding the Kerry-Lugar bill that ties continued U.S. aid to increased civilian control of the military. Zerinini also argued that the west had missed its opportunity to push the Pakistani military to crush the Afghan Taliban taking refuge in Pakistan.


Longchamps cautioned the U.S. against imposing sanctions in Iran because they would hurt typical Iranians without impacting the political leadership.

Russia as "strategic partner" for France, frustrated in Middle East, unwilling to reduce nuclear arsenal

Paris welcomed the U.S. "reset" with Russia and views Moscow as a strategic partner that cannot be ignored.


(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.


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.

Israel and Middle East

... the Israelis claimed the Turks have allowed weapons-related material for Iran's nuclear program to transit Turkey, with Prime Minister Erdogan's full knowledge. The French replied that Israel would need to have clear and concrete proof of such activity before leveling accusations.


... Bereyziat reported, President Sarkozy called Prime Minister Netanyahu directly on October 26, to urge him to establish an independent investigation into the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces in the Gaza conflict. Sarkozy told Netanyahu that such a step would decrease pressure on Israel and its allies stemming from the Goldstone Report, but Netanyahu responded briskly: "No way." Franco-Israeli discussions on the status of the peace process stumbled over a "profound difference on tactics," according to Bereyziat (...)


(C/NF) Franco-Israeli discussions on the status of the peace process itself resembled a "conversation of the deaf," Bereyziat said.

Will continue with the many more from 2009 shortly.

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