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Cablegate: The President's June 6 Meeting with French

VZCZCXRO9311
OO RUEHBC RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHFL RUEHIHL RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV
RUEHSR
DE RUEHFR #1995/01 1380920
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 180920Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7292
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0487
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 001995

SIPDIS

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DEPT FOR EUR; NSC FOR AINSLEY/BAIRD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2017
TAGS: PREL FR EUN NATO ECON SENV AF IQ RS TU PGOV
YI, UNO, IR, LE
SUBJECT: THE PRESIDENT'S JUNE 6 MEETING WITH FRENCH
PRESIDENT SARKOZY

REF: A. PARIS 1844
B. PARIS 1871

Classified By: CDA Thomas J. White for reasons 1.4 (B & D).

1. (C) The meeting between the President and French
President Nicolas Sarkozy in Heiligendamm June 6 will be
their first official encounter since then-Interior Minister
Sarkozy met briefly with the President on September 12, 2006.
The two presidents will meet on the same day that Defense
Secretary Gates and new French Defense Minister Herve Morin

SIPDIS
commemorate D-Day on the beaches of Normandy. France's new
President -- who has promised France's citizens that he will
say what he will do and do what he has said -- has declared
that improving France's relationship with the United States
is one of his top priorities. We should take him at his word
and seek to exploit this opening to reinvigorate our
strategic relationship with France, since close cooperation
with France -- bilaterally, within NATO, at the UNSC, and
through the EU -- is a key force multiplier.

2. (C) That said, we will need to take into account the fact
that Sarkozy was elected President primarily with a mandate
for domestic reform. He will devote his first weeks and
months in office to delivering on his promises and
implementing that mandate. Even if Sarkozy handily wins the
June legislative elections, as currently expected, he will
face vigorous opposition from those with entrenched
interests, including unions and the coalition of students and
their parents who fear a loss of France's vaunted social
protections. In the foreign policy arena, as was made clear
in his May 16 meeting with German Chancellor Merkel on the
same day he assumed office, Sarkozy will focus in the short
term on the run-up to the June 21-22 EU Council meeting as a
means of finally re-imparting institutional momentum
following the French and Dutch rejection of the EU
constitutional treaty.

3. (C) The President will want to welcome Sarkozy's election
and the possibilities it represents for reforming and
re-energizing France and Europe, while acknowledging the
challenges that Sarkozy faces in the years ahead. Sarkozy
greatly enjoys political strategizing (the basis of his close
relationship with UK PM Blair), and can be expected to talk
at some length about his strategy of moving toward the
center, winning the upcoming legislative elections, and
pushing through an ambitious reform program in his first
months of office.

4. (C) The President should also welcome Sarkozy's
commitment to a U.S.-French relationship based on mutual
confidence and candor, and will want to address Sarkozy's
desire for frequent contact on the full range of issues. We
should suggest that NSA Hadley would hope to have the same
kind of close relationship with Sarkozy's diplomatic advisor,
Jean-David Levitte, and seek Sarkozy's agreement that they be
mandated to begin a quiet dialogue on how we might
reinvigorate the U.S.-French strategic relationship,
including through a larger and more positive French
leadership role within NATO. The President can assure
Sarkozy that this would not be at the expense of the EU -- we
do not see this as zero-sum -- but that we are striving for a
win-win outcome for both organizations.

5. (C) We believe it is essential for the President to raise
two issues in this initial meeting, Afghanistan and Iraq. On
Afghanistan, France has been sending mixed signals. MFA
Political Director Araud has counseled us to try early on to
move Sarkozy away from Chirac's pessimistic view of
Afghanistan, and lay the basis for a more activist,
multifaceted French effort there. Unfortunately, in
responding to the Taliban hostage-taking of a French NGO
worker, Sarkozy suggested that a long-term French presence
would not be "decisive," implying that he would consider
reducing France's commitments. Although we have since been
assured by Levitte that French policy has not changed, we
believe it is essential to obtain that commitment from
Sarkozy himself. NATO/ISAF requires France's continuing
engagement; as with Bosnia or Kosovo, when it comes to the
Alliance it must remain "in together and out together."

6. (C) On Iraq, Sarkozy recognizes that an American defeat
is also a defeat for Europe, and he told the President that
he would "help get the U.S. out of Iraq." We take for
granted that, at a minimum, this means that the needling

PARIS 00001995 002 OF 002


rhetoric of the past will be dropped, including repeated
calls to offer a "horizon" for an eventual troop withdrawal.
Beyond that, it is extremely unlikely that France would put
troops on the ground, but the President should seek a new
level of engagement that could be demonstrated, for example,
by visibly working with Arab governments in support of a
political settlement in Iraq. France could also raise the
level of its representation at, and support for, the regional
conferences with Iraq's neighbors now underway.

7. (C) Sarkozy is likely to have two priority issues of his
own to raise, climate change and Darfur. On the first,
Sarkozy signaled during his election victory speech that
climate change was his top priority, and he called on the
U.S. to "take the lead" in the fight against global warming.
Sarkozy has stopped short of calling on the U.S. to join
Kyoto, but he publicly advocates the idea of a carbon tax on
imports from non-Kyoto signatories as a means of defending
Europe's CO2 emissions trading system (ETS). The President
should express our interest in enhancing collaboration on
climate change with France, with a view to greater
cooperation on a positive science and technology agenda.

8. (C) Darfur is likely to be a high-profile issue for
Sarkozy and his Foreign Minister, former UN Kosovo Czar, NGO
(Doctors Without Borders) activist, and human rights
interventionist Bernard Kouchner, which would permit the
Sarkozy government to put more of a human rights stamp on its
foreign policy. (Sarkozy has himself called for greater
human rights emphasis in French foreign policy: he has been
sharply critical of Russia on Chechnya, and opposes the
lifting of the EU arms embargo on China, on human rights
grounds.) The President should assure Sarkozy of our desire
to work closely with Sarkozy Darfur, with the aim of
reproducing the kind of success we have had together on
Lebanon.

9. (C) As time permits, we would recommend that the
President touch on the need to maintain continuity on
U.S.-French cooperation on Lebanon/Syria and Iran, including
the need to ratchet up sanctions and reinforce them outside
the UN framework if necessary. The President should also
stress the importance of maintaining Western unity on Kosovo
in the face of Russian opposition. This might offer a chance
for a brief exchange on Russia more generally, including on
missile defense, and lead to a brief assessment by Sarkozy's
assessment of EU-Russia relations. (Sarkozy has a much more
critical view of Russia than did Chirac.)

10. (C) Finally, Sarkozy's opposition to Turkish entry into
the EU is public and likely unshakeable: it is one of his
few defining foreign policy issues. He has heard our
strategic rationale for bringing Turkey into the EU, but has
made clear that whatever the ramifications of keeping Turkey
out, he opposes bringing 70 million Muslims into Europe,
further diluting its identity and exacerbating France's own
sensitive immigration issue (although he puts his argument in
terms of "Turkey is in Asia Minor, not Europe.") The
President, while noting that this is an issue that only the
EU can decide, should nonetheless seek to persuade Sarkozy to
avoid any early or dramatic closing of the door; not taking a
decision at this time would allow the accession negotiations
so indispensable to Turkey's own internal reforms to proceed
uninterrupted.

Please visit Paris' Classified Website at:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm

WHITE

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