Search

 

Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Iraq - French Hostage -

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 001344

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR INR/R/MR; IIP/RW; IIP/RNY (FRANK); BBG/VOA; IIP/WEU;
AF/PA; EUR/WE (DEBORAH MENNUTI)/P/SP; D/C (MCCOO); EUR/PA
(BERBENA); INR/P; INR/EUC; PM; OSC ISA FOR ILN; NEA; WHITE
HOUSE FOR NSC/WEUROPE; DOC FOR ITA/EUR/FR AND PASS USTR/PA
(ANN LUZZATO); USINCEUR FOR PAO; NATO/PA; MOSCOW/PA; ROME/PA;
BRUSSELS/PA; USVIENNA FOR USDEL OSCE.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - IRAQ - FRENCH HOSTAGE -
VIDEOTAPE MIDDLE EAST - LEBANON - SYRIA - GREATER MIDDLE EAST
U.S. - EU AND THE TRANSATLANTIC ALLIANCE
PARIS - WEDNESDAY, MARCH 02, 2005


(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

1. IRAQ - FRENCH HOSTAGE - VIDEOTAPE
2. MIDDLE EAST - LEBANON - SYRIA - GREATER MIDDLE EAST
3. U.S. - EU AND THE TRANSATLANTIC ALLIANCE

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

TODAY'S FRONT PAGES ARE OVERWHELMINGLY DEVOTED TO FLORENCE
AUBENAS, THE FRENCH LIBERATION JOURNALIST HELD HOSTAGE IN
IRAQ. YESTERDAY, THE VIDEOTAPE SHOWN TO THE PUBLIC WAS THE
FIRST INDICATION THAT THE KIDNAPPED JOURNALIST WAS ALIVE.

A NUMBER OF EDITORIALS COMMENT ON THE MESSAGE READ BY AUBENAS
AND ON THE POSSIBILITY OF NEGOTIATIONS BY THE FRENCH
GOVERNMENT. NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER DIDIER JULIA, THE
CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE WHO WAS INVOLVED IN THE PREVIOUS CHESNOT
AND MALBRUNOT NEGOTIATIONS, IS BACK IN THE NEWS, WITH AUBENAS
CITING HIM IN HER MESSAGE. (SEE PART C) POPULAR RIGHT-OF-
CENTER FRANCE SOIR CARRIES A SPECIAL 5-PAGE REPORT BY THOMAS
DE ROCHECHOUART FROM AMMAN, IN WHICH THE CORRESPONDENT
EXPLAINS HOW THE VIDEOTAPE WAS FIRST OFFERED TO FRANCE SOIR BY
THE ISLAMIC ARMY, WHICH CLAIMS TO BE HOLDING AUBENAS, BEFORE
BEING GIVEN TO AL-JAZIRA. FRANCE SOIR WAS ULTIMATELY ONLY
GIVEN A COMMUNIQU WHICH IS REPRODUCED IN TRANSLATION:
".CONTRARY TO WHAT THE MEDIA REPORTED AT THE TIME OF THE
CHESNOT AND MALBRUNOT LIBERATION, IT WAS NOT FM BARNIER'S
INTERVENTION, OR THAT OF THE AMERICANS. WHICH BROUGHT ABOUT
THEIR LIBERATION. IT WAS JULIA'S INITIATIVE. WE REITERATE OUR
REQUEST TO FRANCE TO STAY AWAY FROM IRAQ, BECAUSE THE
SITUATION DOES NOT WARRANT IT."

TWO COLUMNS, IN LE FIGARO AND LES ECHOS, EMPHASIZE THE ROLE OF
"A DEMOCRATIC AWAKENING" IN THE MIDDLE EAST AS PARTLY
RESPONSIBLE FOR LEBANON'S "CEDAR REVOLUTION." FOR ALEXANDRE
ADLER IN LE FIGARO, THE ELECTIONS IN AFGHANISTAN, THE U.S.
VICTORY IN IRAQ AND EVENTS IN PALESTINE "CREATED A CHAIN
REACTION IN A REGION WHERE THE STATUS QUO OF OLD REGIMES IS NO
LONGER TOLERATED." FOR JACQUES HUBERT-RODIER IN LES ECHOS,
"WASHINGTON MAY BE REACHING ITS GOAL IN THE GREATER MIDDLE
EAST." (SEE PART C)

LEFT-OF-CENTER LE MONDE CARRIES AN ANALYSIS ON THE PROPOSAL OF
A EUROPEAN CAUCUS WITHIN NATO BY DANIEL VERNET TITLED
"ORGANIZING THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE U.S. AND EUROPE." (SEE
PART C)

THE DECISION BY THE U.S. SUPREME COURT TO BAR CAPITAL
PUNISHMENT FOR MINORS IS REPORTED. RADIO COMMENTATOR DOMINIQUE
BROMBERGER SAID ON FRANCE INTER THAT "THIS WAS A BREAKTHROUGH
FOR DEATH PENALTY ABOLITIONISTS." REGIONAL OUEST FRANCE
COMMENTED: "THOSE WHO OPPOSE THE DEATH PENALTY SCORED A GREAT
VICTORY YESTERDAY IN THE UNITED STATES. IN THAT COUNTRY, WHICH
REMAINS ONE OF THE LAST TO EXECUTE ITS JUVENILE CRIMINALS, THE
SUPREME COURT ABOLISHED THE DEATH PENALTY FOR THOSE UNDER 18
YEARS OLD. THIS ADVANCE MADE BY THE COURT ALSO REFLECTS A
GENERAL DECLINE OF THE DEATH PENALTY IN THE UNITED STATES.
WHILE THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS REMAIN FAVORABLE, DEATH
SENTENCES AS WELL AS EXECUTIONS HAVE DECREASED SINCE 1999."

REPORTS ON THE LONDON PALESTINIAN AID CONFERENCE INDICATE THAT
"THE PRESENCE OF SECRETARY RICE AND UN SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI
ANNAN GAVE SUBSTANCE TO THE CONFERENCE." (LIBERATION.) IN LE
FIGARO, PAUL CECONI REPORTS ON FM BARNIER'S PROPOSAL FOR AN
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE MIDDLE EAST, "DURING THE
SECOND HALF OF 2005." HE COMMENTS: "THE PROPOSAL WAS NOT
ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE U.S. BECAUSE IT CLASHES WITH WASHINGTON'S
AMBITION TO CONTROL THE MIDDLE EAST AGENDA."
(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

IRAQ - FRENCH HOSTAGE - VIDEOTAPE
"50 SECONDS"
ANTOINE GAUDEMAR IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION (03/02): "THE
HARSH AND CRUEL FIFTY SECONDS OF THE TAPE ARE AN INDICATION OF
THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH AUBENAS IS BEING HELD. FIFTY
SECONDS WHICH GIVE NO PRECISE INFORMATION ON THE KIDNAPERS, OR
THEIR DEMANDS. ON THE CONTRARY, THE MESSAGE COMPLICATES EVEN
MORE THEIR SADISTIC SKEIN, WITH THE MENTION OF DIDIER JULIA,
WHICH IS IN ITSELF AN INDICATION THAT AUBENAS'S MESSAGE WAS
DICTATED TO HER BY HER KIDNAPPERS. BUT THESE 50 SECONDS ARE
ALSO THE SIGN THAT A NEGOTIATION MAY HAVE BEGUN BETWEEN THE
KIDNAPERS AND THE FRENCH AUTHORITIES."

MIDDLE EAST - LEBANON - SYRIA - GREATER MIDDLE EAST

"THE CEDAR REVOLUTION VERSUS `PAX SYRIANA'"
JACQUES HUBERT-RODIER IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LES ECHOS (03/02):
"SYRIA IS TODAY IN THE EYES OF THE LEBANESE OPPOSITION, OF
WASHINGTON AND PARIS, THE MAIN SUSPECT BEHIND HARIRI'S DEATH.
THE FIRST ERROR OF APPRECIATION WHICH EL-ASSAD MADE WAS ABOUT
THE TOPPLING OF SADDAM HUSSEIN AND THE PRESENCE OF THE
COALITION TROOPS AT SYRIA'S DOOR. WASHINGTON NEVER DENIED THAT
SYRIA WAS IN ITS LINE OF FIRE. AND THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT IN
BEIRUT MAY WELL BECOME THE SYMBOL OF WASHINGTON'S FINAL
OBJECTIVE OF BRINGING DEMOCRACY TO THE MIDDLE EAST. ELECTIONS
HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN IRAQ AND IN PALESTINE. EGYPT IS ALSO ON
THE MOVE. ANOTHER NEGATIVE SIGN FOR DAMASCUS IS THE ALLIANCE
BETWEEN PRESIDENTS BUSH AND CHIRAC AGAINST DAMASCUS, IN SPITE
OF THEIR OPPOSITION ON IRAQ, AND EVEN IF THEIR MOTIVATIONS ARE
NOT IDENTICAL. FEBRUARY 28, 2005 WILL BE REMEMBERED AS THE
FIRST TIME AN ARAB REGIME HAS BEEN TOPPLED BY THE POWER OF THE
STREET."

"CHAIN REACTION"
ALEXANDRE ADLER IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (03/02): "THE
VICTORY BY THE LEBANESE OPPOSITION OPENS THE DOOR TO RESOLVING
THE CRISIS WITH SYRIA'S REGIME. UNKNOWINGLY, THE U.S. AND IRAN
FIND THEMSELVES ON THE SAME SIDE. THE LEBANESE REVOLUTION IS
THE RESULT OF A CHAIN REACTION OF EVENTS, WHICH INCLUDE THE
SUCCESS OF THE ELECTIONS IN AFGHANISTAN, DUE MOSTLY TO A
CONVERGENCE BETWEEN U.S. AND IRANIAN POLICIES, TO IRAQ'S
SHIITES AND KURDS MAKING USE OF THE DEMOCRATIC POTENTIAL
OFFERED BY THE U.S. VICTORY IN IRAQ. AND TO EVENTS IN
PALESTINE. THE DOUBLE INFLUENCE OF THE U.S. MILITARY THREAT
AND IRAN'S PRESSURE HAS LED TO A TURNAROUND IN DAMASCUS AND
SYRIA ABANDONING THE LEBANESE REGIME."

U.S. - EU AND THE TRANSATLANTIC ALLIANCE

"U.S. - EU AND THE TRANSATLANTIC ALLIANCE"
DANIEL VERNET IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LE MONDE (03/02): "THE MORE
EUROPE MOVES TOWARDS INTEGRATION, THE MORE THE EU DEVELOPS ITS
JOINT SECURITY AND DEFENSE POLICY, AND THE MORE IT BEGINS TO
ASSUME THE BURDEN OF POLITICAL AND MILITARY TASKS, THE MORE IT
SHOULD, AS A UNION, BECOME AN INTERLOCUTOR FOR THE U.S. IN
OTHER WORDS THE AMERICANS WILL HAVE IN FRONT OF THEM LESS OF A
MULTITUDE OF INDIVIDUAL PARTNERS AND MORE OF A STRUCTURED
ENTITY. WHILE IT WILL NOT BE A RIVAL, BY SIMPLE VIRTUE OF THE
DISCREPANCY IN FORCES, THE INFLUENCE THAT THE EU WILL CARRY AS
A UNION WILL BE GREATER THAN THE WEIGHT OF THE SUM OF ITS
MEMBERS. FOR THIS NOT TO REMAIN IN THE SPHERE OF POLITICAL
FICTION, THE 25 NEED TO AGREE AMONG THEMSELVES. BUT THE TRUTH
IS THAT IN MATTERS RELATING TO NATO, EUROPEAN CONSULTATIONS
ARE NOTHING NEW. THE U.S. HAS ALWAYS OPPOSED THE IDEA OF A
EUROPEAN CAUCUS. FOR REASONS OF EFFECTIVENESS. BUT IN REALITY
IT IS EASIER FOR WASHINGTON TO CONVINCE INDIVIDUAL PARTNERS
THAN MANEUVERING WITH A EUROPE, WHICH HAS REACHED CRITICAL
SIZE. HENCE SCHROEDER'S RELUCTANCE TO SPEAK ABOUT A CAUCUS;
INSTEAD HE FAVORS A TRANSATLANTIC FORUM. SO DOES FRANCE. WILL
THE AMERICANS LISTEN? FOR THE TIME BEING THEY ARE IGNORING THE
ISSUE. THEY SEE NO REASON TO CHANGE STRUCTURES THEY CAN USE OR
IGNORE AS THEY PLEASE. THE REAL TRANSATLANTIC PARTNERSHIP IS
STILL AT THE BEGINNING STAGES." LEACH

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN Agency: Thousands Flee Fresh Clashes In Central African Republic

Recent fighting between government forces and rebels in northern Central African Republic (CAR) has forced more than 2,000 refugees into neighboring Chad over the past week, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday. According to the agency, ... More>>

UN Chief: World On The Verge Of Climate ‘Abyss’, As Temperature Rise Continues

The Earth’s temperature continues to rise unabated, with 2020 being one of the three warmest years on record, as extreme weather events combine with the COVID-19 pandemic, impacting millions. According to the World Meteorological Organization’s ... More>>

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

C40: UN Secretary-General's Remarks To Meeting With Leading Mayors Supported By Cities

UN Secretary-General's remarks to Meeting with Leading Mayors Supported by C40 Cities: “Advancing a Carbon-Neutral, Resilient Recovery for Cities and Nations” 16 April 2021 Thank you for joining me today, and for your commitment and leadership. Cities ... More>>

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>