2005-08-29 17:01:00
Embassy Paris
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 PARIS 005818 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2014

REF: A. 04 PARIS 6396

B. 04 PARIS 6355

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Josiah Rosenblatt for reaso
ns 1.4 (B & D).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 PARIS 005818


E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2014

REF: A. 04 PARIS 6396

B. 04 PARIS 6355

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Josiah Rosenblatt for reaso
ns 1.4 (B & D).

1. (C) Summary: President Chirac delivered a speech August
29 to France's assembled ambassadors in an annual event this
year focused on France's policy toward the EU in the wake of
the failed May 29 referendum on a constitutional treaty. As
such, it was clearly aimed more at reassuring French citizens
and France's partners than setting out new directions. In
areas where French views are different from those of the
U.S., Chirac toned down differences or referred to them
indirectly. Noticeably absent were overtly provocative
remarks directed against the United States, with Chirac
stressing the EU's vocation as an equal partner of, rather
than a rival to, the United States (although he never once
mentioned NATO). Multipolarity received little play, but
Chirac emphasized the need to strengthen UN institutions
through UNSC enlargement and proposed new structures to deal
with globalization. He also reiterated his proposal for an
air tax and announced France's intention to host a conference
to promote it. While Chirac had little new to say about Iraq
or U.S. BMENA initiatives, he did say the right things about
Iran by insisting that it comply with the Paris Agreement.
On Turkey, he limited himself to seeking "clarification" of
Turkey's intention to implement the extended customs union,
without suggesting that France intended to add preconditions
related to diplomatic recognition of Cyprus or to delay the
beginning of accession negotiations on October 3. End

2. (U) President Jacques Chirac opened on August 29 the 13th
annual conference for France's nearly 200 ambassadors with a
speech centered on the threats to international peace and
security (terrorism, WMD proliferation, and the regional
stability in the Middle East) and on next steps for the
European Union following the May 29 French rejection of an EU

constitutional treaty (full text faxed and emailed to
EUR/WE). The European Union is indeed the main focus of this
year's conference, with round tables on August 30 scheduled
to take up as many as eight different EU-related themes after
FM Douste-Blazy's opening remarks that morning. Chirac's
comments on the upcoming scheduled accession negotiations
with Turkey will be studied carefully in other EU capitals.


3. (U) Chirac paid only short shrift to the threat of
international terrorism before moving rapidly to the
proliferation threat posed by Iran. He noted that the
legitimate pursuit of nuclear energy should not be a pretext
for developing a military nuclear arsenal. He recalled
Iran's clandestine nuclear program, enumerated European
efforts to engage Iran in negotiations, and called on Iran to
return to those negotiations on the basis of the Paris
accords. Failure to take responsible action to reestablish
confidence, he warned, would leave no choice but to seize the
UN Security Council.

Middle East

4. (U) Chirac judged the Middle East to be the main source
of regional instability in the world, stressing the
importance of achieving a resolution of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He praised the efforts of both
sides in evacuating the Gaza strip and called for a
resumption of negotiations on the basis of the Roadmap.

5. (U) He had little to say on Iraq, preferring to stress a
"long and painful" path toward the consolidation of the
country's institutions. He nonetheless cited the need to
assist Iraq to maintain its territorial integrity and develop
as an inclusive society. He called on other states of the
region to work for stability. There was no mention
whatsoever of Coalition efforts or the draft Iraqi

6. (U) Chirac gave more attention to Lebanon, noting
"exemplary" international cooperation and the need to ensure
the implementation of UNSC Resolutions 1559, 1595 and 1614 in
order to restore the country's full sovereignty. Chirac
refrained from direct criticism of Syria; instead, he called
on Syria merely to seize the occasion to reestablish its
relations with Lebanon on a new foundation in accordance with
the wishes of the international community.

7. (U) On democratization and reform, Chirac saw the
resolution of regional conflicts as a necessary precondition,
while nonetheless calling reform inexorable. He acknowledged
a new dynamic in the region, with "taboos falling" and "fear
dissipating." Success, however, should be achieved through
peaceful means that respect each nation's specific identity,
do not lead countries into chaos, and are not imposed from
the outside. Calling for true partnership with governments
as well as civil society, he extolled Europe's Barcelona
Process as the most appropriate way forward, citing as an
example France's draft friendship treaty with Algeria.

Globalization and UN Reform

8. (U) Evoking the putative threat posed by globalization to
cultural diversity, the environment, internal stability, and
disparities in wealth and education, the president called for
a more just and democratic collective response, to be
achieved through the United Nations. He praised UNSYG
Annan's proposal for consolidating the international order
based on responsibility, security and solidarity, to be
achieved primarily through enlargement of the UN Security
Council. Chirac lauded the G-4 resolution, proposed by
Germany, Brazil, India and Japan, as reflecting the need for
a more regionally representative Security Council,
particularly with respect to Africa. Chirac hoped for
Security Council reform by the end of the year, at the
latest, if not by the September summit. He called for the
"association of the main powers but also the inclusion of
emerging poles and regional groupings." Chirac also called
for a reinforcement of global governance through the creation
of an UN organization for the environment and a new structure
for economic and social governance.

9. (U) On security, the president urged that proliferation,
terrorism, and peace maintenance be at the center of UN
discussions in New York, to include an international
definition of terrorism, a commission on peace consolidation
and a reinforced mechanism for the protection of human
rights. Finally, on solidarity, he reiterated his proposal
for an international tax on air travel -- shared, he said, by
Germany, Algeria, Brazil, Chile and Spain -- and announced
France's intention to host a conference in February 2006 to
further that aim. He said France would contribute at a later
stage to the international financing structure proposed by
the UK.

10. (U) Chirac called attention to avian flu and elaborated
on the preventative measures France was already taking and
stated France's interest in the development of effective
vaccines. On WTO, he said the December Doha round in Hong
Kong would be decisive and reiterated his proposal for an
immediate moratorium on agricultural export subsidies
(comment: though not offering better market access or
eliminating domestic subsidies) for products destined for
Africa. He urged ratification of the UNESCO Convention on
Cultural Diversity by October 2006.

La Francophonie

11. (U) Chirac declared that the association of
French-speaking countries, while originally aimed at
preserving cultural diversity, was now directed also toward
democratization and social justice. He proposed that the
biannual France-Africa summit, hosted in December in Bamako,
be devoted to youth and the questions of education, health,
employment and security.

12. (U) On political issues, he called for free presidential
elections in Cote d'Ivoire and expressed confidence in South
African mediation within the framework of the African Union.
There was no mention of other African countries.

The European Union

13. (U) Chirac declared that, "in this multipolar world,
only the European Union has the critical mass to establish a
dialogue of equals with its larger partners." He also
asserted that "a strong Europe would contribute also to the
vitality of the kind of balanced transatlantic linkage" --
without however any explicit mention of NATO -- "necessary
for world stability and based on relations of cooperation and
confidence with the United States, with whom we share so many
common values." Indeed, he cites this as the reason, at this
time of European crisis, to seek new European momentum.

14. (U) Acknowledging the need to bring Europe closer to its
citizens in the wake of the failed May 29 referendum on an EU
constitutional treaty, Chirac called for ways to associate
the parliament and local political and civil institutions
with European decisions. He recalled France's shared vision,
with Germany, of a Europe that is "political, ambitious,
social and in solidarity" and emphasizes that Europe's vision
must go beyond that of a free market (Comment: the presumed
UK vision) to include a political project based on common

15. (U) Chirac called for a budget solution for the years
2007-2013 based on proposals of the then-Luxembourg
Presidency made in June and "respect for agreements already
reached" (Comment: presumably the EU's approval of the 2002
Franco-German agreement that governs the EU's Common
Agricultural Policy until the end of 2013). In the same
vein, he called for a harmonization of European fiscal and
social policy and said France would remain "vigilant" with
respect to new directives on services and the work week. He
also called for the creation of "European champions" of
industry and a reinforcement of economic governance within
the Eurozone through a more demanding dialogue between the
Eurogroup and the European Central Bank (Comment: reflecting
French dissatisfaction with the constraints of the Stability

16. (U) Chirac delivered a subtle message on European
enlargement, arguing indirectly that the failure of the
referendum on an EU constitution and the absence of effective
institutions for an enlarged Europe rendered the question of
Europe's geographical limits all the more pertinent, echoing
his remarks to the European Council in June. He said France
would respect its past commitments as long as prospective
candidate countries respected theirs. In the case of Turkey,
for whom "the opening of negotiations is but a long and
difficult path with an uncertain outcome," Turkey would need
"to provide clarifications and assurances to the 25 about its
intention to respect fully its obligations" as a result of
its unilateral declaration on Cyprus.

17. (U) On ESDP, Chirac said Europe needed to make its
presence felt "on all continents," and enumerated EU
involvement in Bosnia, Kosovo and Darfur. Here also, there
was no mention of NATO. He cited the EU's involvement in the
Aceh province of Indonesia as evidence of Europe's strategic
partnership with ASEAN. Finally, he called for a
reinforcement of the EU's Operations Center in order better
to support future autonomous operations such as those in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (Artemis in 2003). He also
stressed the importance of developing the EU's technological
development through the European Defense Agency or through
the common training of pilots and naval officers.


18. (U) Chirac concluded his speech with an expression of
confidence in France to address its problems with
unemployment and economic growth through high technology,
with ITER being cited as an example of France's continuing
attractiveness for investment and research.

19. (U) He concluded with a rapid tour d'horizon of the rest
of the world, citing his upcoming visits to Kazakhstan and
Ukraine; reinforcement of France's partnership with Russia
and its strategic relations with China (he noted his plans to
return to China next year),India and Japan; and his
intention to visit Brazil and Chili.


20. (C) Chirac's speech was clearly aimed at being
reassuring rather than provocative, the result of the failed
May 29 referendum on the EU constitution. It is thus not
surprising that he focused most of his efforts on the need to
boost confidence in and stress the importance of the EU and
emphasized its role as partner, rather than competitor, of
the U.S. What remains to be seen is whether the current
sense of EU vulnerability, and/or French weakness within the
EU, leads to more or less NATO/EU competition in practice,
especially if France sees increased EU purposefulness and
visibility on the international scene as the primary means of
offsetting its internal confusion. Chirac's remarks suggest,
however, that France may be content to lie low for the
moment, so long as EU equities are protected. That said, he
made clear France's vision of a global role for the EU,
politico-militarily as well as economically.

21. (C) Chirac's careful and relatively nuanced comments on
Turkey suggest that France may in the end be satisfied with
something less from Turkey than a promise to recognize Cyprus
as the price of beginning accession negotiations on October 3
as planned.

22. (C) Finally, though Chirac may have had little positive
to say about Iraq, he muted his skepticism and refrained from
direct criticism. His comments on Middle East reform
repeated familiar French slogans on not imposing reform on
the region and on working with governments vice civil
society, but he did acknowledge that reform was inevitable.
On Iran, by contrast, he was explicit in reiterating France's
willingness to refer Iran to the UN Security Council if

23. (C) In sum, in those areas where French policy differs
from that of the U.S. -- Iraq, the UN, and the EU vs. NATO --
Chirac deliberately chose to tone down his opposition or
express it more indirectly. While this does not signify a
change in French positions, it suggests that the government
does wish to keep bilateral frictions to a minimum.