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2005-11-18 17:03:00
Embassy Paris
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 007896 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/18/2016

REF: STATE 208899

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Josiah Rosenblatt for reaso
ns 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (U) Poloff delivered reftel points on November 16 to MFA
CFSP deputy Pascal LeDeunff and European Affairs
DAS-equivalent for EU External Relations Caroline Ferrari,
and discussed them with LeDeunff November 18. Embassy
Middle East watcher discussed points on November 16 with MFA
DAS-equivalent for Egypt/Levant Herv Besancenot and Middle
East Presidential Advisor Dominique Boche.

Middle East Peace Process


2. (C) Besancenot welcomed conclusion of the November 15
"Agreement on Movement and Access" and commended the
recognition of the key EU role, as conveyed in reftel talking
points. At the same time, Besancenot observed that our
talking points had stressed the need for momentum on the
economic and security tracks, without mentioning the
political track. He repeated familiar GoF arguments on the
need to energize the political track, and not hold it hostage
to the security track in particular. In this vein, the GoF
did not agree with the perceived Israeli insistence that
Palestinians fulfill 100 percent of their demands on security
before progress on the political track was possible. In the
GoF view, progress on security would not be possible unless
PA President Abbas could demonstrate a political opening and
show his people tangible results from Gaza withdrawal.
Poloff questioned Besancenot's interpretation of the Israeli
position, noting PM Sharon's earlier remarks that he was
looking for 100 percent effort, not necessarily 100 percent
results, from the Palestinians. Besancenot agreed that
progress on security and the economy was important but
reiterated that the political track could not be put on hold
indefinitely; for this reason, the GoF remained worried about
the continued absence of contact between PM Sharon and Abbas.
In the GoF view, the roadmap should not simply be a distant
"icon," to which we refer in abstraction, but it should be
reactivated and become a living document.

3. (C) LeDeunff of CFSP, meanwhile, addedthat France would
push for a GAERC conclusion on East Jerusalem. Events there,
he said, are very worrying. "The Israelis are doing things
they shouldn't be doing." The French believe that these
measures (he cited building of the security barrier and
demolition of houses) threaten the peace process itself and
are "contrary to the spirit" of the road map. He stated that
although the conclusion would be mostly optimistic, it would
also note the EU's concern on this front.



4. (C) Besancenot generally agreed with our Syria points, but
sought to emphasize a few nuances. While the GoF agreed with
us that Mehlis had the authority to determine the location of
interviews of Syrian officials, the GoF would advise Mehlis
to be more flexible on insisting that interviews take place
in Beirut. With the Arab League compromise proposals for
interviews in Cairo, Cyprus or elsewhere, the GoF didn't see
the location of the interviews as a critical matter; the most
important objective was for Mehlis to be able to interview
the SARG officials, show SARG non-cooperation, and report
that to the Security Council before sanctions could be
implemented. Besancenot commented that Mehlis' insistence
on Beirut interviews was causing concern among key Arab
governments, especially Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as
UNSC members like Russia and Algeria, making them more
sympathetic to the Syrian arguments. On Bashar's November
10 speech, Besancenot agreed it was bad, but said we should
not overestimate its importance, or respond to one
provocation with another. Besancenot dismissed the speech as
aimed at shoring up Bashar's support within Syria, and said
that Lebanese PM Siniora had counseled against overreacting
as well. In a separate conversation with poloff,
Presidential Middle East Advisor Dominique Boche reiterated
that the GoF's overriding objective was that UNIIIC Chief
Mehlis be able to interview the Syrian suspects; therefore,
Mehlis should accept a compromise on interviewing SARG
officials in Cairo, Cyprus, Geneva or elsewhere and not
insist that interviews take place in Beirut, which was
counterproductive and would put the GOL in a difficult
position. At the same time, Boche conceded that Mehlis
should not be drawn into negotiating an MOU with the SARG on
the location/modalities of the interviews.

5. (C) On Syrian FM Shara's presence at the Barcelona Summit,
Besancenot said that the GoF would not show any warmth
towards Shara, but it remained very annoyed with the UK
initiative to invite Iraqi FM Zebari to attend the summit as
an observer. Besancenot concluded that the UK approach
suggested an attempt to cut Syria out of the Euro-Med while
bringing Iraq in, which would only feed Syrian arguments that
it is being unfairly targeted. Poloff advised Besancenot to
avoid linking an Iraqi observer presence at the Barcelona
summit, which is an internal EU matter, and the need to keep
Syria isolated at the gathering, which is consistent with
achieving our shared objectives on UNSCR 1559, 1595 and 1636.
Presidential Advisor Boche confirmed separately that the GoF
would not have any bilaterals with Shara at Barcelona.



6. (C) On Iran, LeDeunff said the ministers would discuss
the upcoming Nov. 24 BOG meeting. LeDeunff said the EU would
emphasize two elements: it is worried about the Iranian
authorization to recommence conversion at Esfahan, but it
continues to believe that negotiations are the way to resolve
the situation.



7. (C) On Iraq, LeDeunff said there would be no conclusions
issued, just a general discussion. He mentioned France's
support for the Arab League's efforts to organize a
conference at the beginning of 2006.

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