Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09PARIS1401
2009-10-16 14:05:00
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Embassy Paris
Cable title:  

FRENCH MFA ON EU, RUSSIA, IRAN, AND THE MIDDLE EAST

Tags:  PREL PGOV PINS EUN NATO KMPI RS IR FR 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO2005
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHFR #1401/01 2891405
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161405Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7367
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 001401 

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINS EUN NATO KMPI RS IR FR
SUBJECT: FRENCH MFA ON EU, RUSSIA, IRAN, AND THE MIDDLE EAST

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Mark Pekala, Reasons 1.4(b),(d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 001401

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINS EUN NATO KMPI RS IR FR
SUBJECT: FRENCH MFA ON EU, RUSSIA, IRAN, AND THE MIDDLE EAST

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Mark Pekala, Reasons 1.4(b),(d).


1. (C/NF) SUMMARY: At an October 5 lunch with visiting EUR
DAS for Western Europe and Press and Public Diplomacy Spencer
Boyer, key MFA officials provided an update of French
thinking on a number of issues: the GOF hopes that the Czechs
will ratify the Lisbon Treaty soon and that the U.S. will
engage more with ESDP; the French remain skeptical about the
potential for concrete improvements in NATO-Russia relations
despite better atmospherics; a "lack of strong U.S.
leadership" on Iran has compelled the French to take a
forward-leaning position; and the GOF wants to maintain close
coordination with the United States on the Middle East. END
SUMMARY.

--------------
French MFA Officials Positive on Lisbon
--------------


2. (C/NF) French MFA officials expressed their satisfaction
with the results of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty
and their hope that full ratification will come soon. Laurent
Delahousse, Deputy Director for the European Union, said
member states would start ratcheting up the pressure on the
Czechs, starting with a meeting of EU officials with Czech
Prime Minister Jan Fischer in Brussels on October 7.
Nevertheless, the timeline for a Czech ratification remains
unclear, as it depends in part on a judicial process.
Alexandre Vulic, Advisor for EU External Relations to State
Secretary for European Affairs Pierre Lellouche, added that
Lellouche and National Assembly Deputy and Europe expert
Pierre Muscovici had a meeting on next steps with the Czech
Ambassador in Paris, who was hopeful but asked for
consideration for the internal political dynamic in the Czech
Republic. On a related note, both Delahousse and Vulic were
cautious about a possible bid by PM Francois Fillon for the
new European Council Presidency position, saying they thought
Fillon had claimed he was not interested.

--------------

Hopeful about U.S.-EU Cooperation on ESDP
--------------


3. (C/NF) Vulic said one positive result of ratifying Lisbon
might be more opportunities for "political" cooperation
between the United States and the EU, especially on ESDP, and
asked if the United States would be willing to work more
closely with the EU even when an operation is launched under
the auspices of ESDP because the USG does not want to
contribute troops. Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel, MFA Deputy
Director for Strategic Affairs, cited counterpiracy
operations off the Horn of Africa as a good example of
U.S.-EU operational cooperation, while Vulic added that
further U.S.-EU cooperation on ESDP could also help convince
Turkey to be more flexible on ESDP-NATO issues.

--------------
Skeptical on NATO-Russia Relations
--------------


4. (C/NF) The October 1 trip by FM Bernard Kouchner and
Defense Minister Herve Morin to Moscow for a "2-plus-2"
meeting with their Russian counterparts focused on
international affairs, not bilateral relations, said MFA
Deputy Director for Continental Europe Edouard Beslay. He
said Russia wanted to build on France's reintegration into
NATO's military command, and seemed genuinely interested in
improving relations with NATO. The Russians did not want to
be viewed as a threat, and hoped to be involved in the
drafting of a new Strategic Concept. Simon-Michel added that
this would be a thorny issue, since Allies have very
different views of Russia. He said the challenge would be to
move from NATO-Russia goodwill to concrete action, adding
that NATO had already maintained certain activities not of
central importance to the Alliance, such as counterterrorism
exercises, merely as an excuse to have areas of concrete
cooperation with Russia. Vulic added that while the
atmosphere may have changed, Allies need to be clear on
what is expected from the Russians.

--------------
Asking for U.S. Leadership on Iran
--------------


5. (C/NF) France is waiting for U.S. "leadership" on Iran,
according to Simon-Michel. Responding to a comment that
France seemed to be in front of the United States on Iran,
Simon-Michel sharply interjected that this was because "there
is no U.S. leadership." He added that the United States
seemed to have come to an early conclusion about disarmament,
but needed to focus on nonproliferation as well, warning that
an Iranian nuclear weapon would spark a disastrous regional

PARIS 00001401 002 OF 002


arms race. Simon-Michel said France had not deliberately
chosen to have the strongest position vis a vis Iran among
Western allies, and that he wished the United States would
move closer to the French view. While we are on the same
page strategically and may finally be coming together
tactically, France would have liked to see a specific mention
of Iran at the G8 conference in July and in the resolution
from the September 24 UN Security Council nuclear summit.
Simon-Michel's French colleagues looked down and visibly
fidgeted while he was expressing these views.

-------------- --------------
Looking for Further Consultation on the Middle East
-------------- --------------


6. (C/NF) France is looking for enhanced U.S. consultation on
Middle East issues, said DAS for the Near East Ludovic
Pouille. Specifically, he called for U.S. engagement with
the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM),underlining French
hopes that the UfM might be useful within the overall context
of Middle East peace talks. Pouille also said the United
States and France should consult on "what we can do with" the
Forum for the Future and the Middle East Partnership
Initiative. Pouille said the GOF was very happy with
consultations with Special Envoy George Mitchell and NEA A/S
Jeffrey Feltman, and encouraged further visits. He added
that French officials had noticed elements in President
Obama's Cairo speech that expressed a view of secularism
different from the French interpretation and that these ideas
merited further consultation. He told poloff separately that
the October 3-4 trip to Damascus by Elysee Diplomatic Advisor
Jean-David Levitte and Secretary General Claude Gueant was
useful in some measure because the GOF's relationship with
Syria is now normalized and unextraordinary, but offered no
further detail about the content of the meetings.


7. (U) DAS Boyer has cleared this cable.
RIVKIN