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Cablegate: President Sarkozy Articulates His Framework For

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DE RUEHFR #0130/01 0241636
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241636Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1769
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
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RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 0540
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV FR
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT SARKOZY ARTICULATES HIS FRAMEWORK FOR
FRENCH FOREIGN POLICY

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C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (ADDED TAGS)

REF: A. EMBASSY PARIS DAILY SIPRNET REPORT FOR JANUARY 13
B. 2008

SUMMARY
-------
1. (U) In this annual New Year's message to the Diplomatic
Corps on delivered on January 18, President Sarkozy laid out
a theoretical justification for recasting France's role on
the international scene in the twin challenges before the
international community: climate change and the "return of
the religious extremism" as a factor in international
politics. Sarkozy called for "four innovations" to prevail
over these challenges: 1) returning France to the "heart of
the occidental family," 2) dedicating France to a "diplomacy
of reconciliation," 3) affirming "diversity" while demanding
"its corollary, reciprocity," and 4) working towards the
"construction of a world order adapted to the emergence of
new powers and therefore capable of dealing effectively with
the challenges of the 21st century." The specific
initiatives Sarkozy said France would be pursuing during the
coming year -- from reform of the UNSC to pressing for
continued sanctions against Iran, from expansion of the G-8
to the hosting of an Afghanistan donors' conference -- all
link to Sarkozy's projected role for France as leading the
way towards the international unity needed to meet the
environmental challenge to humanity from global warming and
the political challenge to secular democracy from religious
fundamentalists. END SUMMARY.

NEW YEAR'S BEST WISHES TO THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS
--------------------------------------------- -
2. (U) President Nicolas Sarkozy delivered the French
president's annual New Year's best wishes to the Diplomatic
Corps on the afternoon of January 18. Ambassador Stapleton
and DCM Pekala attended the event -- remarks followed by
reception -- at the Elysee palace. Traditionally, French
presidents have used these events to review administration
achievements and to unveil or re-iterate upcoming foreign
policy initiatives. True to form, Sarkozy went beyond review
of achievements and listing of initiatives, and laid out the
justification for his projected reform of France's role on
the international scene. Sarkozy began by pointing out -- as
he does in connection with nearly every area of public policy
-- "I was not elected to accept things as they are. I was
elected to reform France through a continuous process of
profound reform." He also underlined that France's foreign
policy "had to stem from a lucid analysis, realistic about
France's place in the world as the world is today."

TWO GREAT CHALLENGES -- AND THE NEED FOR UNITY
--------------------------------------------- -
3. (U) Sarkozy's analysis of the state of the world today
posits two great challenges -- climate change and religious
fundamentalism. Sarkozy said that global warming's "menace
to humanity" and the intention of "certain groups to impose a
fundamentalist, hegemonic and intolerant" religiosity would
"restructure international society in the 21st century
possibly more than ideologies did in the 20th." Sarkozy then
argued that these challenges could be successfully met only
"on one condition" -- "finding the unity" necessary for
concerted, effective international action. The four major
"innovations" in France's international affairs posture that
Sarkozy then claimed he had or was putting in place, and the
range of specific initiatives that he said France would be
pursuing in the coming year link directly, in Sarkozy's view,
to fostering the international unity necessary for taking
effective action against these two challenges. COMMENT: In
his presentation to the members of the diplomatic corps
Sarkozy projected as a candidate on the campaign trail --
working hard to win over his listeners to his way of looking
at things. As he has always done in connection with his
domestic reform campaigns, Sarkozy sets great store in
bringing people around to share his diagnosis of the
situation, from which follow the courses of action he
proposes. END COMMENT.

FOUR "INNOVATIONS"
------------------
4. (U) The four foreign policy "innovations" Sarkozy claimed
to be implementing are: 1) returning France to the "heart of
her Occidental family," 2) pursuing a "diplomacy of

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C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (ADDED TAGS)

conciliation," 3) affirming "diversity" while demanding that
"its corollary, reciprocity" be honored by others, and 4)
advocating a reformed international institutional order
"adapted to the emergence of new powers and therefore capable
of dealing effectively with the challenges of the 21st
century." While he rejected previous government's use of the
word "hyperpower" to describe the U.S., he did describe a
multi-polar worldview with Europe become one of the active
poles.

5. In connection with the first, he evoked France's
new-found closeness to the U.S. Sarkozy underlined that
France was a "voluntary partner" of the U.S., and an
"independent ally and friend," while clearly implying that
France, for the sake of its own effectiveness and
credibility, was right to abandon its pretensions to
representing an alternative to U.S. leadership. Sarkozy also
underlined, inQnection with France's getting back in step
with the major western democracies, that doing so was key to
advancing France's leadership role in the EU. He said that
"it was France's ambition to see the EU emerge as an
important global actor in the 21st century," and that that
required "the development of an effective European defense"
capability (ESDP) independent of NATO. He stressed that, in
the face of today's "range of threats and crises" NATO and
ESDP were complimentary spans of a single security and
defense architecture for Europe. He said that France's
new-found unity with the U.S. and new-found unity with its EU
partners had reinforced France's leadership credibility both
"internally," among the western democracies, and
"externally," throughout the rest of the world.

6. (U) Sarkozy argued that France's "diplomacy of
conciliation" worked to attenuate differences, and, by
implication, promote the unity necessary for effective
international action. Sarkozy justified his recent dealings
with Qadhafi and Hugo Chavez in terms of this constructive
engagement, French-style, that he calls "diplomacy of
conciliation." He went on to say that France's foreign
policies would henceforth be anchored in the affirmation of
"diversity, and its corollary, reciprocity." He justified
the elevation of "diversity" to a guiding principle for
foreign policies as follows, "Even more than the fight for
democracy, it seems to me that the fight for diversity -- for
openness, tolerance, acceptance of others in all their
difference -- is fundamental. It is, in a way, the
precondition for extending liberty and durably implanting
democracy." Lastly, Sarkozy claimed the "innovation" of
advocating a reformed system of multi-lateral institutions,
and again justified these proposals as necessary for
achieving needed unity in the face of global challenges.

SPECIFIC INITIATIVES
-------------------
7. (U) Once he had dispatched the carefully constructed
theoretical underpinnings of his framework for France's
foreign policy, Sarkozy took up the range of specific
initiatives that France would be pursuing in the coming year.
NOTE: Sarkozy's speech, in its entirety, is available, in
English, on the Elysee website at www.elysee.fr; in addition,
post has reported separately (ref) on the outlook for
France's Africa policy as reflected in the speech;
furthermore, French policy under Sarkozy in the critical
areas of Iran, Afghanistan, NATO/ESDP, and Middle East Peace
have the subject of extensive and regular reporting. END
NOTE. Among the most salient of Sarkozy's specific
initiatives aimed at reforming international institutions are
enlarging the Security Council in its two categories of
members, and enlarging the G-8 to include, "progressively"
China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. In addition,
Sarkozy called for reform of the IMF, calling on it to become
more inclusive of emerging economic powers and to develop a
way of engaging the large international oil and other
similarly profitable global companies, in financing the
alleviation of poverty. He also said that "all must be done"
to produce an agreement by 2009 up to the "colossal challenge
of global warming via the Bali process."

8. (U) He reiterated France's commitment to continuing
sanctions against Iran, while aiming to return Iran to full
respectability "once it respects international law." Sarkozy

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confirmed that France would host the next Afghanistan donors
conference. He said France would support "the process
envisaged at Annapolis" to result "in the creation of a
Palestinian State side-by-side to the State of Israel." He
reviewed France's priorities for its upcoming presidency of
the EU -- the Lisbon treaty, the environment and energy,
immigration, agriculture, and implementing ESDP -- and he
recommitted to "launching that important civilizational
project," the Mediterranean Union.

COMMENT
-------
9. (U) In this speech, Sarkozy did not unveil any new or
unexpected initiatives, but he did attempt to link France's
foreign policy initiatives to pressing international problems
without referring to "France's glory" or "France's history
and civilization". Sarkozy nevertheless articulated an
ambitious foreign policy framework that should help guide our
understand of the French approach over the coming months
including during its Presidency of the European Union that
begins in July. END COMMENT.

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