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Cablegate: France Accepts in Principle Seeking a Prst On

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OO RUEHAG RUEHBZ RUEHDF RUEHDU RUEHIK RUEHJO RUEHLZ RUEHMR RUEHRN
RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHFR #1183/01 1751657
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231657Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3517
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES PRIORITY
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE PRIORITY 0458
RUEHOU/AMEMBASSY OUAGADOUGOU PRIORITY 1094
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 0204
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE PRIORITY 0245
RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB PRIORITY 0272

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 001183

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KDEM UNSC FR ZI
SUBJECT: FRANCE ACCEPTS IN PRINCIPLE SEEKING A PRST ON
ZIMBABWE; SARKOZY, KOUCHNER BLAST MUGABE

REF: STATE 66915

1. (SBU) We passed reftel points to the French MFA early on
June 23, including to the AF and IO/UNP equivalents. DCM
subsequently raised the subject with French MFA Political
Affairs Director (P-equivalent) Gerard Araud. He stated
general French agreement with our points and general
assessment of the dire situation in Zimbabwe. With respect
to the UK draft of a PRST under discussion at the UNSC, Araud
unhesitatingly affirmed French support in principle for such
a move but indicated the GOF would want to consider the text
before deciding what it would do. As regards French public
statements about the situation, he encouraged us to check the
Internet for FM Kouchner's public statements on the subject,
which are summarized below, but not yet available on the
French MFA website at www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en.

2. (U) Both French President Sarkozy and FM Kouchner,
together in Israel for a state visit, blasted the government
of Zimbabwe for its treatment of that country's political
opposition. Sarkozy, in a statement issued June 22 by the
French presidency, accused the GOZ of having "deliberately
chosen the path of violence" to "gag" its people and prevent
Zimbabweans from expressing themselves at the ballot box. He
further condemned the "campaign of violent acts and serious
atrocities perpetrated by the regime of President Mugabe
against Mr. Tsvangirai, opposition supporters, and the
Zimbabwean people." Sarkozy said these acts constitute a
"flagrant violation" of democracy and the rules set forth
under the AU and SADC charters. "France will never accept
any formulation that does not strictly conform to the will of
Zimbabwe's people (,who are) not able to express themselves
by the ballot box and in the framework of a free, just, open,
and transparent vote," the communique continued. "What will
take place Friday will not be responsive to this expectation."

3. (U) In an interview June 22, Kouchner, was typically
much more blunt in his characterization of the situation in
Zimbabwe and of President Mugabe: "Whoever believes he is
ordained by God and that God should keep him in his position
is nothing but a swindler and an assassin, and that must be
said with force. (Tsvangirai) threw in the towel because
someone murdered a certain number of his supporters and above
all officials of his party. It is, therefore, not a question
for France to accept this false election, that would finish
up with one sole candidate. ...It is truly the greatest
denial of democracy that Africa has ever know.

4. (U) The French MFA, on June 23, issued a more measured
statement through its spokesperson, who was asked at the
daily press briefing whether Mugabe had lost his legitimacy
following the decision by Tsvangirai to withdraw from the
presidential election. Following is the Embassy's informal
translation of the text of the statement:

Begin text:

France respects the decision of Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai not to
stand for election in the second round of the Zimbabwean
presidential election. We hold the Zimbabwean authorities
responsible for this withdrawal, due to a climate of
deliberate violence, and deplore, as the Slovene presidency
of the European Union did yesterday, the grave atrocities
perpetrated by the regime of President Mugabe against Mr.
Tsvangirai and his supporters.

In the absence of Mr. Tsvangirai, the vote scheduled for June
27 does not meet the expectations of the international
community for a free, just, open, and transparent election.

As the Slovene presidency of the European Union Council said,
we wish to work together with the AU and SADC.

Concerning France, the President of the Republic indicated
that we must be ready to "take, with our EU partners, all
measures necessary against those responsible for what has
become an electoral masquerade.

End text.

Please visit Paris' Classified Website at:
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Fran ce


PARIS 00001183 002 OF 002


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