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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Europe: Referenda Fallout,

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 003937

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: REFERENDA FALLOUT,
2012 OLYMPICS SYRIA: BAATHIST PARTY CONGRESS -
IRAN: JUNE 17 ELECTIONS
PARIS - TUESDAY, JUNE 07, 2005


(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

EUROPE: REFERENDA FALLOUT, 2012 OLYMPICS
SYRIA: BAATHIST PARTY CONGRESS
IRAN: JUNE 17 ELECTIONS

(B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

THE BRITISH DECISION TO POSTPONE THE REFERENDUM IN THE UK
DOMINATES A NUMBER OF HEADLINES AND RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO
CARRIES A COLOR PHOTOGRAPH OF A DEMONSTRATOR HOLDING A SIGN
THAT READS "THANK YOU FRANCE, THANK YOU HOLLAND." LEFT-OF-
CENTER LIBERATION CLAIMS "LONDON IS THROWING IN THE TOWEL" AND
QUALIFIES TONY BLAIR AS A "LUKEWARM AMBASSADOR FOR THE EU"
WHILE COMMUNIST L'HUMANITE STATES THAT THE EU CONSTITUTION HAS
BECOME A "HOT POTATO." COMMENTARIES ABOUND ON THE OLYMPIC
COMMITTEE'S LOOMING DECISION BETWEEN PARIS AND LONDON TO HOST
THE 2012 GAMES. (SEE PART C)

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THE BAATHIST PARTY CONGRESS IN DAMASCUS IS WIDELY REPORTED AND
GENERALLY VIEWED AS "DISAPPOINTING," PROMPTING AN ANALYSIS OF
THE PROGRESS OF THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF THE MIDDLE EAST IN
RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO. COMMUNIST L'HUMANITE HEADLINES
"SYRIA: AT A STANDSTILL." (SEE PART C)

THE JUNE 17 ELECTIONS IN IRAN ARE NOT YET A PRINCIPAL FOCUS OF
THE INTERNATIONAL STORIES IN THE FRENCH DAILY PRESS, BUT RIGHT-
OF-CENTER LE FIGARO CARRIES A REPORT FROM TEHERAN ANALYZING
THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES' DESIRE TO PURSUE IRAN'S NUCLEAR
PROGRAM. (SEE PART C)

TWO AMERICAN THINKERS, PHILIP GORDON OF THE BOOKINGS INSTITUTE
AND JEREMY RIFKIN, OF THE FOUNDATION ON ECONOMIC TRENDS PEN OP-
EDS TRANSLATED FOR LEFT-OF-CENTER LE MONDE AND LEFT-OF-CENTER
LIBERATION RESPECTIVELY. BOTH PIECES REACT TO THE FRENCH "NO"
ON THE EU CONSTITUTION. GORDON POINTS OUT THAT THE APPOINTMENT
OF DE VILLEPIN AS PRIME MINISTER EFFECTIVELY DOES AWAY WITH
ANY HOPE THE AMERICANS MAY HAVE HAD TO SEE A CHANGE IN FRENCH
FOREIGN POLICY.

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

EUROPE: REFERENDA FALLOUT, 2012 OLYMPICS

"PARIS-LONDON: THE FACE-OFF"
THE EDITORIAL BY YVES THREARD IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO
(06/07): "JACQUES CHIRAC'S FRANCE OR TONY BLAIR'S GREAT
BRITAIN? THE DISCUSSION OVER THE SOUNDNESS OF EACH COUNTRY'S
ECONOMIC OUTLOOK HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY HEATED. WITH THE TWO
COUNTRIES IN A RACE TO HAVE THE MOST INFLUENCE WITHIN THE EU.
NOW THE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE HAS PARED DOWN ITS CHOICE FOR THE
2012 GAMES TO PARIS AND LONDON. FOR 2012, IF THE EURO-
SKEPTICISM OF THE FRENCH IS A NEGATIVE POINT FOR PARIS, GREAT
BRITAIN'S INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR IN IRAQ COULD BE A HANDICAP
FOR LONDON.. THE CHOICE BETWEEN PARIS AND LONDON WILL NOT BE
INSIGNIFICANT FOR THE DIPLOMATIC FUTURE OF THE TWO COUNTRIES."

"ENGLAND STRUTTING THROUGH A EUROPEAN CRISIS"
FRANCOISE CROUIGNEAU WRITES IN ECONOMIC DAILY LES ECHOS
(06/07): "THE ANNOUNCEMENT TO POSTPONE THE REFERENDUM IN THE
UK IS A WAY FOR THE BRITISH TO AVOID LOOKING LIKE THE
GRAVEDIGGERS OF THE EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION AND TO DELAY ITS
OFFICIAL, AND COLLECTIVE, BURIAL UNTIL THE EU SUMMIT IN MID-
JUNE. THIS MANEUVER IS ESPECIALLY AN EFFECTIVE WAY FOR TONY
BLAIR TO KEEP HIS HANDS FREE AS THE UK TAKES ON THE PRESIDENCY
OF THE EU. THE CRISIS IN EUROPE OFFERS TONY BLAIR THE PERFECT
OPPORTUNITY TO ACHIEVE A DREAM THAT IS AT LEAST AS GRAND AS
HIS AMBITIONS: TO BECOME THE LEADER OF A UNION REWORKED
ACCORDING TO HIS OWN IDEALS. NONETHELESS, THE GOING WILL NOT
BE EASY. REINFORCING THE TRANSATLANTIC TIES WILL BE, AT THE
LEAST, DIFFICULT FOR TONY BLAIR WHO IS STILL SUFFERING AS A
RESULT OF HIS INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR ON IRAQ. TODAY IN
WASHINGTON HE WILL BE ABLE TO EVALUATE THE VARIOUS BONES OF
CONTENTION, FRIENDLY BUT REAL, BETWEEN HIMSELF AND GEORGE
BUSH, NAMELY CONCERNING AID TO AFRICA, AN ISSUE THAT HE DOES
NOT INTEND TO LEAVE IN THE HANDS OF JACQUES CHIRAC DURING THE
UPCOMING G8 SUMMIT."
SYRIA: BAATHIST PARTY CONGRESS
"THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF THE ARAB WORLD IN A RUT"
PIERRE PRIER IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (06/07): "TWO
SPECTERS HAUNT THE ARAB WORLD, ISLAMISM AND DEMOCRACY. THE
AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES PRETEND TO BE AFRAID OF THE FORMER WHILE
THEY TRULY APPREHEND THE LATTER. AMERICAN PRESSURE, POPULAR
IMPATIENCE, ECONOMIC FAILURES, ALL PUSH THE MOST ARCHAIC OF
REGIMES TO DISCUSS REFORMS. EVEN IN SYRIA WHERE A CONGRESS OF
THE CENTRALIZED POWER HAS SUDDENLY BEEN ORGANIZED FOR THE
FIRST TIME IN FIVE YEARS. BACKSTAGE IN DAMASCUS, GOVERNMENT
CIRCLES SUSPECT THAT PRESIDENT BUSH IS ENCOURAGING THE EXILED
SYRIAN MUSLIM BROTHERS IN ORDER TO CREATE A "SUNNI BALANCE."
AFTER HAVING ESTABLISHED THE SHIITES IN POWER IN IRAQ, THE
U.S. IS PLOTTING TO FACILITATE THE VICTORY OF THE MAJORITY
SYRIAN SUNNIS OVER THE ALLAWIT MINORITY IN POWER. THIS LEADS
ARAB COMMENTATORS TO NOTE "THE AMERICANS ARE PLAYING WITH
FIRE. THEY ARE SECRETLY NEGOTIATING WITH ISLAMISTS. THEY DO
NOT REALIZE WHO THESE PEOPLE REALLY ARE."

"A CONGRESS UNDER PRESSURE FOR THE BAATHISTS"
PIERRE BARBANCEY COMMENTS FROM DAMASCUS FOR COMMUNIST
L'HUMANITE (06/07): "IT WOULD BE A EUPHEMISM TO SAY THAT
DAMASCUS IS UNDER PRESSURE, BUT IT WOULD ALSO BE MISGUIDED TO
THINK THAT THE PRESSURE IN ONLY COMING FROM THE OUTSIDE, OR
THAT THE ALMOST DAILY AMERICAN DECLARATIONS AGAINST SYRIA ARE
BEHIND THE PRECIPITOUS ORGANIZATION OF THE BAATHIST PARTY
CONGRESS. IN FACT, INTERNAL TENSIONS COMPOUNDED WITH EXTERNAL
PRESSURE ARE BEHIND THIS CONGRESS, A SIGN THAT THE SYRIAN
REGIME IS BEGINNING TO BE RATTLED. BACHAR EL ASSAD'S ENTIRE
STRATEGY CONSISTS IN GIVING WASHINGTON SMALL SIGNS OF GOODWILL
IN ORDER NOT TO LOSE POWER ALTOGETHER."


IRAN: JUNE 17 ELECTIONS/NUCLEAR PROGRAM

"IN TEHERAN THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DEFEND NUCLEAR
TECHNOLOGY"
DELPHINE MINOUI FROM TEHERAN IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO
(06/07): "IF THERE IS ONE SUBJECT ON WHICH ALL EIGHT
CANDIDATES FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AGREE IT IS THE
NUCLEAR ISSUE, THEY CONSIDER THAT A `STRONG IRAN' IS AN IRAN
THAT PURSUES ITS NUCLEAR PROGRAM. THE REAL DIVERGENCE BETWEEN
THE CANDIDATES LIES IN THOSE WHO SUPPORT THE TRADITIONAL
PRECEPTS OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC AND THOSE WHO ENCOURAGE
RENEWED DISCUSSIONS WITH THE U.S.. ALL OF THIS BODES OF
INTERMINABLE DISCUSSIONS WITH EUROPE AND FURTHER PRESSURE FROM
WASHINGTON. WHICH REMAINS CONVINCED OF IRAN'S INSINCERITY."
WOLFF

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