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06PARIS2313 2006-04-07 16:07:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
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1. (C) SUMMARY: On April 7, post further discussed possible
Hamas participation in upcoming Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe (PACE) meetings with MFA DAS-equivalent for
Strategic Affairs Nicolas Niemtchinow (responsible for CoE
political affairs) and shared ref A points with
DAS-equivalent for CFSP Jean-Louis Falconi. Post also
reviewed the issue with UK and Israeli embassies here. GoF
interlocutors made clear France is aware of the scope of the
problem and is considering how to respond, while asking for
U.S. forbearance pending the outcome of a discussion among EU
foreign ministers at Monday's GAERC meeting. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) Polmiloff spoke to Nicolas Niemtchinow, DAS-equivalent
in the MFA's Strategic Affairs directorate for NATO and
Council of Europe. Niemtshinow initially repeated many of
the previous day's arguments (ref B) with respect to problem
GoF obligations, in accordance with its 1949 CoE host-country
agreement, not to bar participants in COE Parliamentary
Assembly meetings. However, taking the last discussion April
6 with MFA DAS-equivalent for CFSP Jean-Louis Falconi one
step further, Niemtchinow said the GOF was actively exploring
with its EU partners possible solutions in advance of the
April 10 EU GAERC meeting. For that reason, the GOF was
requesting that the USG avoid public discussion of the issue
until April 10, so as to give the EU time to formulate a
response at the GAERC. According to Niemtchinow, there is a
risk that a high-profile U.S. public stance could complicate
France's efforts, as host nation, as well as those of the EU,
to find a solution.

3. (C) Ella Aphek, Political Counselor at the Israeli
Embassy, refuted Israeli Consul General Gilbert Roos' ref B
statement that al Ramahi had attended a March 14 PACE
political committee meeting in Paris; she asserted that it
was in fact independent PLC member Hassan Kreishe, not
Ramahi, who had recently traveled to France (NFI). Aphek
told us that the GoF, in fact, had been helpful in weighing
in with Brussels against issuance of a visa for al Ramahi to
attend a European Parliament session. Aphek emphasized that
the Israel Embassy here is also pressing the French on the
CoE issue.

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