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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Europe: Uk Elections, Capture

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 003056

SIPDIS


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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - EUROPE: UK ELECTIONS, CAPTURE
OF AL-LIBBI


PARIS - MAY 6, 2005

(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

1. UK ELECTIONS
2. CAPTURE OF AL-LIBBI

(B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

TONY BLAIR'S RE-ELECTION AND THE ANNIVERSARY OF PRESIDENT
CHIRAC'S TEN YEARS AT THE ELYSEE ARE THE PRINCIPAL FRONT-PAGE
STORIES TODAY. CENTRIST BUSINESS-ORIENTED LA TRIBUNE CALLS THE
PARALLEL BETWEEN THE RE-ELECTION AND THE ANNIVERSARY
"PAINFUL." "TONY BLAIR HAS SET GREAT BRITAIN ON THE COURSE TO
GROWTH. WHILE JACQUES CHIRAC'S ACHIEVEMENTS ARE DECIDEDLY LESS
BRILLIANT." (SEE PART C)

THE ANNIVERSARY OF JACQUES CHIRAC'S PRESIDENCY PROMPTS A
NUMBER OF COMMENTATORS TO FOCUS ON FRANCE'S FOREIGN POLICY
OVER THE LAST DECADE.

IN CATHOLIC LA CROIX'S EDITORIAL, FRANCOIS ERNEWEIN OPINES
CONCERNING PRESIDENT CHIRAC'S TEN-YEARS IN OFFICE: "THE
ASSESSMENT OF HIS LAST TEN YEARS IN OFFICE WILL GREATLY HINGE
ON THE OUTCOME OF THE REFERENDUM ON MAY 29. IF THE YES VOTE
TAKES IT, THE PRESIDENT'S WORK OVER THE LAST DECADE WILL BE
JUSTIFIED. A NO VOTE HOWEVER WOULD MARK THE SECOND MAJOR
FAILURE OF HIS MANDATE AFTER THE FAILED DISSOLUTION OF 1997."

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FRENCH HISTORIAN NICOLAS BAVEREZ IS INTERVIEWED IN RIGHT-OF-
CENTER LE FIGARO ON PRESIDENT CHIRAC'S TEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY IN
LIGHT OF HIS FOREIGN POLICY. BAVEREZ CRITICIZES FRENCH FOREIGN
POLICY AS BEING A "RHETORIC OF POWER WITHOUT THE INSTRUMENT OF
POWER" AND ADDS: "FRANCE REMAINS CLOSED IN ITS POSITION OF AN
OLD NOSTALGIC COUNTRY OF LOST GRANDEUR ON THE MARGINS OF
EUROPE, SPECTATOR OF CURRENT HISTORY BEING WRITTEN IN SPITE OF
HER. THE DEADLOCK THAT FRANCE WAS IN FOLLOWING THE RADICAL
POSITION IT ADOPTED DURING THE WAR IN IRAQ IS, THANKFULLY,
RIGHTING ITSELF DUE TO THE RECONCILIATION EFFORT LED BY GEORGE
W. BUSH AFTER HIS RE-ELECTION; THE END OF THE SYRIAN
OCCUPATION OF LEBANON. PROVES THAT THE TWO COUNTRIES CAN
OBTAIN POSITIVE RESULTS WHEN THEY WORK TOGETHER."

DORIAN MALOVIC IN CATHOLIC LA CROIX ALSO ANALYZES THIS
ANNIVERSARY FROM THE STANDPOINT OF FRENCH DIPLOMACY. "A STUDY
BY THE PROGRAM ON INTERNATIONAL POLICY ATTITUDES AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SHOWS THAT THERE IS A VERY POSITIVE
PERCEPTION OF FRENCH DIPLOMACY IN THE WORLD. WITH THE
NOTEWORTHY EXCEPTION OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE A MAJORITY OF
PUBLIC OPINION CONTINUES TO HAVE A NEGATIVE OUTLOOK ON
FRANCE." IN ECONOMIC RIGHT-OF-CENTER LES ECHOS' FOREIGN
AFFAIRS EDITORIALIST JACQUES HUBERT-RODIER WRITES IN AN
ANALYSIS ENTITLED "JACQUES CHIRAC OR TEN YEARS OF CONSTANCY IN
FOREIGN POLICY," "BEFORE LEAVING HIS POST A FEW WEEKS AGO U.S.
AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE HOWARD H. LEACH STATED: `NO OTHER FRENCH
LEADER HAD EVER ACTIVELY WORKED AGAINST U.S. INTERESTS. WHEN A
FRIEND WORKS ACTIVELY AGAINST YOU IT NOT ONLY HURTS YOUR
FEELINGS, IT MAKES YOU ANGRY.' DID JACQUES CHIRAC GO TOO FAR
IN 2003 BY BRANDISHING THE THREAT OF VETOING ANY RESOLUTION
THAT AUTHORIZED USING MILITARY FORCE?"

THE FRIDAY EDITION OF LEFT-OF-CENTER LE MONDE LEADS WITH THE
ARREST IN PAKISTAN OF AL QAEDA LEADER ABOU FARAJ AL-LIBBI AND
PUTS FORWARD THAT "THIS ARREST GIVES NEW HOPE TO THE AMERICANS
IN THEIR HUNT FOR OSSAMA BEN LADEN." (SEE PART C)

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

UK ELECTIONS
"THE BRITISH LESSON"
THE EDITORIAL IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO BY PIERRE ROUSSELIN
(0506): "THE SUCCESS OF THE LABOUR PARTY IS AS MUCH THE
SUCCESS OF GORDON BROWN AS IT IS OF TONY BLAIR. THE PRIME
MINISTER HAS HAD THE WISDOM TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS AND TO PUSH
HIS PROBABLE SUCCESSOR TO THE FRONT LINES AWARE THAT HIS
POPULARITY HAD SERIOUSLY SUFFERED AFTER THE WAR IN IRAQ WHICH
A MAJORITY OF BRITISH WERE OPPOSED TO."
"THE BRITISH FIRE"
PATRICK SABATIER'S EDITORIAL IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION
(05/06): "TONY BLAIR CRUSHED HIS HOPES TO PLACE GREAT BRITAIN
AT THE HEART OF EUROPE BY SEEKING TO ESTABLISH A `SPECIAL
RELATIONSHIP' WITH THE U.S."

CAPTURE OF AL-LIBBI

"THE CAPTURE OF AL-LIBBI"
IN REGIONAL LA NOUVELLE REPUBLIQUE DU CENTRE OUEST, JEAN-
CLAUDE ARBONA WRITES (05/06): "THIS CAPTURE UNDERSCORES THE
AMERICAN DETERMINATION TO DEFEAT AL QAEDA THAT WAS THE SOURCE
OF ITS HUMILIATION IN 2001. WILL THIS CAPTURE PUT THE U.S. ON
THE TRACK OF BEN LADEN? WHATEVER THE OUTCOME, IT IS PROOF OF
THE PARTNERSHIP THAT THE U.S. HAS ESTABLISHED WITH A NUMBER OF
COUNTRIES IN THE WAR ON TERRORISM."

"PAKISTANI SUCCESS AGAINST AL QAEDA"
MARIE-FRANCE CALLE IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (05/05): "IT
IS A REAL SUCCESS STORY FOR ISLAMABAD AND WASHINGTON. A
VICTORY IN THE WAR ON TERROR ON THE VERY HAZY BORDER THAT
SEPARATES PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN. THIS CAPTURE WAS MADE
POSSIBLE THANKS TO THE COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS OF ISLAMABAD WITH
AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE. TODAY IT WILL BE UP TO THE VERY ANTI-
AMERICAN PAKISTANI PUBLIC OPINION TO JUDGE THIS COLLABORATIVE
EFFORT. MUSHARRAF HAS PRACTICALLY TURNED THE HUNT FOR AL QAEDA
INTO A PERSONAL MATTER. BUT THIS IS INCONSEQUENTIAL WHEN WHAT
REALLY MATTERS IS AL QAEDA'S ELIMINATION IN PAKISTAN."

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