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2005-11-17 13:40:00
Embassy Paris
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 007813 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/16/2015

REF: STATE 206172

Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Josiah Rosenblatt, reasons
1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary and Comment: The French are reluctant to send
the EU Gendarmerie to Haiti in support of upcoming elections
for a number of reasons. The primary concern they cite is
that the EU Gendarmerie is not yet ready to deploy, and won't
be until sometime in 2006. Additionally, the GoF is worried
that the situation in Haiti might prove too challenging for a
fledgling force, and that a failure on the first mission
would be disastrous for the future of the program. The
French also seek international cover for any such mission and
are hesitant to send troops without a direct request from the
UN. Finally, the GoF believes that any EU Gendarmerie
deployment would rely heavily on French manpower, and the
unrest that has plagued France the last three weeks has tied
up most available personnel. While the situation has
returned to relative normalcy, the underlying tension
remains, and the French are averse to committing troops to
international duty while there is still a possibility for
trouble at home. Ultimately, it seems unlikely the French
will engage in Haiti without U.S. participation. End Summary
and Comment.

2. (C) In a discussion November 16 with PolMinCouns, MFA
A/S-equivalent for WHA Daniel Parfait stated that the GoF had
examined deploying the EU Gendarmerie to Haiti in June and
July of 2005, but ultimately dismissed the possibility due to
resistance on a number of fronts. First, Parfait indicated
that the EU Gendarmerie would not be ready until 2006.
Second, Parfait expressed the fear that the situation in
Haiti might prove a difficult challenge for the fledgling
force, and that problems on the inaugural mission would
damage the future of the EU Gendarmerie. Although security
in Haiti is improved compared to the summer, Parfait
elaborated, the gangs and arms remain, and both could easily
reemerge during elections to derail the process. Parfait
expressed concern that Aristide supporters might unite behind
the candidacy of former president Renee Preval in the hopes
of paving the way for Aristide's return or another virtual
Aristide presidency. Any electoral result could touch off
violence, Parfait speculated, but while the GoF was
concerned, he said there was not yet enough impetus to engage
French troops. In the end, in the face of possible widescale
violence, such a deployment of French forces (vice European
gendarmes) might be possible, Parfait entertained, if the
U.S. were also involved.

3. (C) Post also delivered reftel points to Alexis Morel,
MFA Counselor in the Directorate for Strategic Affairs (ASD)
covering EU Gendarmerie issues. Morel indicated to PolOff
that the GoF was still evaluating our request, but that the
general mood or reaction to our proposal was one of
"skepticism." Morel echoed Parfait's concern that the EU
Gendarmerie was not yet operational. He added that the
situation in Haiti remained uncertain, raising the question
among some in the GoF as to whether the Haitians would be
able to hold elections under the current timeframe. Morel,
too, noted that the extent to which the U.S. would be
involved in election security was a key factor; he suggested
that French participation was likely to be influenced by
whether or not U.S. security personnel also were deployed.

4. (C) On November 15, Deputy PolCouns and PolOff presented
reftel points to MFA DAS-equivalent for Mexico, Central
America, and the Caribbean Pierre-Alain Coffinier, Haiti Desk
Officer Cecile Merle, and UN Desk Officer for Haiti Benoit
Guidee. Coffinier stated that there was political reluctance
to send troops to Haiti, and Guidee questioned whether DPKO
was in favor of additional support or would be able to
coordinate that support with existing forces. According to
Guidee, the issue was a non-starter for France absent an
explicit request from the Secretariat of the UN, with a
recommendation from DPKO. His impression was that DPKO had
not yet been consulted, or was in any case not engaged.

5. (C) Guidee indicated that troop availability was also an
issue, as any early deployment of the European Gendarmerie
Force (EGF) would require French gendarmes to take the lead
and bear a disproportionate burden (given the lack of
Francophones in other EU member states). Moreover, 81 French
gendarmes and police were already engaged in Haiti through
MINUSTAH. Asked about a possible ad hoc coalition formed
from the gendarmes of five EU countries, Guidee responded
that the GoF had earlier considered, but then rejected, this

6. (C) Guidee saw few prospects for GoF flexibility,
concluding that French participation would be difficult to
sell politically to the GoF in any case, given that French
gendarmes were currently needed in France to combat the wave
of civil unrest that has plagued the country for three weeks.
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