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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Liberation of French Hostage

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

131020Z Jun 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 004115

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 - LIBERATION OF FRENCH HOSTAGE
G8 - LIFTING OF DEBT FOR POOR COUNTRIES PARIS AIR SHOW: BOEING
- AIRBUS IRAN ELECTIONS
PARIS - MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2005


(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

1. LIBERATION OF FRENCH HOSTAGE
2. G8 - LIFTING OF DEBT FOR POOR COUNTRIES
3. PARIS AIR SHOW: BOEING - AIRBUS
4. IRAN ELECTIONS

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

THIS WEEKEND'S LIBERATION OF FRENCH JOURNALIST FLORENCE
AUBENAS WHO WAS HELD HOSTAGE IN IRAQ FOR OVER THREE MONTHS IS
TODAY'S UNANIMOUS FRONT PAGE STORY, WITH A NUMBER OF
EDITORIALS DEVOTED TO THE "NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL
MOBILIZATION EFFORTS" WHICH CONTRIBUTED TO THIS HAPPY END. IN
CONNECTION WITH THIS STORY, FORMER FM BARNIER IS INTERVIEWED
ON THE NEGOTIATIONS LEADING TO AUBENAS'S LIBERATION. IN
POPULAR RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE PARISIEN HE IS ASKED ABOUT WHETHER
"FRANCE RECEIVED HELP FROM THE U.S." "IN THIS TYPE OF
BUSINESS, WE MAKE ALL TYPES OF USEFUL CONTACTS. THROUGH OUR
EMBASSY IN BAGHDAD WE HAVE NATURALLY ESTABLISHED CONTACTS WITH
AMERICAN AND IRAQI OFFICIALS." HIS INTERVIEW IS TITLED: "NO
RANSOM WAS PAID."

ONE ARTICLE IN LE FIGARO COMMENTS: "WHAT IS SYRIA'S ROLE IN
THE COMPLEX LIBERATION OF AUBENAS?. IN THE EIGHTIES, SYRIA WAS
ALWAYS PRESENT IN EVERY HOSTAGE TAKING OF WESTERNERS. RUMORS
INTIMATE THAT TWO WEEKS AGO HIGH RANKING MEMBERS OF SYRIA'S
REGIME WERE IN PARIS, INCLUDING MEMBERS OF EL-ASSAD'S FAMILY."

RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO CARRIES AN EXTENSIVE INTERVIEW OF
THE NEW FM, PHILIPPE DOUSTE-BLAZY, ON EUROPEAN ISSUES AND
RELATIONS WITH THE U.S.: "THERE IS A EUROPEAN MODEL., A MODEL
THAT REGULATES THE MARKET ECONOMY AND WHICH IS DIFFERENT FROM
THE AMERICAN MODEL. ABOUT TURKEY, IT MUST BE MADE CLEAR THAT
WE ARE EXTREMELY VIGILANT. NEGOTIATIONS WITH TURKEY CAN ONLY
BEGIN IF TURKEY MEETS THE CONDITIONS SET BY THE EUROPEAN
COUNCIL. NEITHER TURKEY NOR ANY OTHER COUNTRY WILL BE
INTEGRATED INTO EUROPE WITHOUT A FRENCH REFERENDUM, AS PER
CHIRAC'S CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM. WITH THE U.S. WE SHARE THE
SAME VALUES OF PEACE AND DEMOCRACY. WHEN IT IS NECESSARY, WE
KNOW HOW TO ESTABLISH CLOSE AND EFFECTIVE CONSULTATIONS,
WHETHER IT IS ABOUT HAITI, LEBANON OR WEST AFRICA. BECAUSE WE
SHARE THE SAME VALUES, WE CAN AFFORD TO HAVE A VISION OF THE
WORLD THAT IS AT TIMES DIFFERENT. OUR RELATIONSHIP OF
FRIENDSHIP WITH THE U.S. IS PROFOUND AND LONGSTANDING. BUT
THIS FRIENDSHIP DOES NOT MEAN SUBORDINATION. WE CAN HAVE
DIFFERENCES OVER CONTENT AND SAY IT. EVERYONE MUST BE FREE TO
DEFEND HIS IDEA OF THE TRUTH. FRANCE IS OF COURSE FAVORABLE TO
THE GOALS OF DEMOCRATIZATION. BUT WE HAVE A METHOD AND
PRINCIPLES. IN OUR VIEW, DEMOCRATIZATION MUST RESPECT THE
CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION OF OUR PARTNERS. THERE IS NO POINT IN
IMPOSING READY-MADE SOLUTIONS, IMPORTED FROM THE OUTSIDE,
WHICH CAN AWAKEN REJECTION AND INTOLERANCE. FRANCE IS NOT AN
ADEPT OF THE STATUS QUO. IT ACKNOWLEDGES THE VIRTUES OF CHANGE
AND PROGRESS, BUT THESE MUST BE UNDERSTOOD BY THE PEOPLE IN
ORDER TO BE ACCEPTED. THIS IS TRUE FOR THE MIDDLE EAST AS WELL
AS FOR AFRICA. I AM PLANNING A TRIP TO THE U.S. . AS PART OF
THE REGULAR DIALOGUE ESTABLISHED BY MY PREDECESSOR. BUT THIS
DIALOGUE DOES NOT PRECLUDE OPENNESS. THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN
CONFLICT IS ON TOP OF THE TRANSATLANTIC AGENDA; IT IS CLOSELY
LINKED TO DEMOCRATIZATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST."

THE PARIS AIR SHOW AND THE BOEING - AIRBUS COMPETITION ARE A
MAJOR ECONOMIC STORY. LE FIGARO ECONOMIE DEVOTES ITS FRONT-
PAGE REPORT TO "THE RETURN OF THE AMERICANS TO LE BOURGET."
(SEE PART C)

RIGHT-OF-CENTER WEEKLY L'EXPRESS REPORTS ON ASSISTANT
SECRETARY DANIEL FRIED'S "EUROPEAN TOUR AFTER THE FRENCH AND

SIPDIS
DUTCH `NO' TO THE EU REFERENDUM. HIS DELICATE MISSION IS TO
CONVINCE HIS EUROPEAN INTERLOCUTORS THAT THE WORLD'S NUMBER
ONE POWER DOES NOT REJOICE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION'S
DIFFICULTIES. HE WILL REPEAT THE U.S. INVITATION TO THE EU TO
PARTICIPATE IN A `PRAGMATIC' COOPERATION ON SHARED AGENDAS,
WITH SECURITY AND DEMOCRATIZATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE
BALKANS AS THE MAIN THEMES."

L'EXPRESS ALSO CARRIES A COMMENTARY BY BERNARD GUETTA ON
RAFSANDJANI'S ELECTORAL DESIGNS, HIS INTENTION TO "RE-
INTEGRATE IRAN IN THE WORLD ECONOMY AND FIND A MODUS OPERANDI
WITH THE AMERICANS." (SEE PART C)

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

LIBERATION OF FRENCH HOSTAGE

"A HAPPY END"
PIERRE ROUSSELIN IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (06/13): "THE
AMAZING SHOW OF SOLIDARITY . AND THE ROLE PLAYED BY FORMER FM
BARNIER WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN THIS HAPPY END. IN IRAQ, HOSTAGE
TAKING IS UNFORTUNATELY AN EVERYDAY OCCURRENCE, WHICH DOES NOT
AFFECT EXCLUSIVELY JOURNALISTS OR FOREIGNERS. MUCH TIME WILL
PROBABLY STILL BE NEEDED TO REACH A SEMBLANCE OF SECURITY IN
IRAQ."

G8 - LIFTING OF DEBT FOR POOR COUNTRIES

"A BURDEN IS LIFTED"
JEAN-CHRISTOPHE PLOQUIN IN CATHOLIC LA CROIX (06/13): "THE G-8
MINISTERS HAVE JUST ANNOUNCED AN IMMEDIATE LIFTING OF THE DEBT
FOR 18 COUNTRIES. THE AGREEMENT WAS BASED ON A BRITISH-
AMERICAN PROPOSAL NEGOTIATED IN WASHINGTON LAST WEEK BETWEEN
BLAIR AND BUSH. ONCE AGAIN PRESIDENT BUSH HAS SHOWN HIS
ABILITY TO TAKE STRONG AND HIGHLY PUBLICIZED DECISIONS
REGARDING DEVELOPMENT. TWO YEARS AGO HE HAD ANNOUNCED MASSIVE
AID FOR AIDS RELIEF IN AFRICA. THIS NEW STRATEGY FOR
DEVELOPMENT PLACES THE FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY, AND NOT
STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENTS, AT THE CENTER OF DEVELOPMENT POLICIES,
FORCING THE COUNTRIES INVOLVED TO BE COMMITTED TO GOOD
GOVERNANCE."

PARIS AIR SHOW: BOEING - AIRBUS

"THE AMERICANS ARE BACK"
DELPHINE DENUIT IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO ECONOMIE (06/13):
"THIS YEAR'S BIG EVENT AT THE PARIS AIR SHOW IS THE RETURN OF
THE AMERICANS EN FORCE. IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE AMERICANS
TO ERASE PAST DISSENSION WITH FRANCE OVER THE WAR IN IRAQ.
THIS PROBABLY EXPLAINS WHY THE PENTAGON HAS DECIDED TO LIFT
THE BAN ON PARTICIPATION OF ITS HIGH OFFICIALS THIS YEAR, AS
OPPOSED TO TWO YEARS AGO. UNDER SECRETARIES FOR INTERNATIONAL
AFFAIRS AND OTHER AIR AND DEFENSE OFFICIALS WILL BE ABLE TO
WALK THE TARMAC FREE OF COMPLEXES."

"PLANES WITHOUT PILOTS"
GILLES SENGES IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LES ECHOS (06/13): "IT IS
INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT AS THE PARIS AIR SHOW GETS UNDER WAY,
THE TWO MAJOR PLAYERS IN THIS SECTOR, AIRBUS AND BOEING HAVE
NO LEADER AT THE HELM. BUT FOR BOEING, THIS VACUUM HAS NOT
KEPT IN-HOUSE LOBBYISTS FROM SECURING THE U.S. POSITION, BOTH
ON THE ISSUE OF SUBSIDIES AT THE WTO. AND IN CONGRESS, TO TRY
TO KEEP THE EUROPEANS AWAY FROM THE JUICY MARKET OF MILITARY
REFUELING AIRCRAFT. THE SAME CANNOT BE SAID OF AIRBUS, WHERE
THE BATTLE FOR LEADERSHIP IS AFFECTING THE A350. AIRBUS'S
DESTABILIZATION COMES AT THE WORST POSSIBLE MOMENT: WHEN
BOEING IS PREPARING ITS SPECTACULAR RETURN."

IRAN ELECTIONS

"RAFSANDJANI'S `CHINESE' WAY"
BERNARD GUETTA IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER WEEKLY L'EXPRESS (06/13):
"NOW THAT TURKEY'S EU MEMBERSHIP IS COMPROMISED, THE TURKISH
PRIME MINISTER HAS RESUMED TALKS WITH THE AMERICANS WHO ARE
WELCOMING HIM WITH OPEN ARMS. AMERICA'S INFLUENCE IN TURKEY
WILL REAFFIRM ITSELF, AND ALONG WITH THIS, AMERICA SHOULD SOON
BE RE-ESTABLISHING ITS TIES WITH IRAN. THIS WOULD MAKE THE
SEARCH FOR A SOLUTION IN IRAQ EASIER. THE ENTIRE REGIONAL
STRATEGY COULD BE AFFECTED, BECAUSE THE WHITE HOUSE WOULD FIND
ONCE AGAIN TWO MAJOR ALLIES OF IMPORT WITHOUT MUCH EFFORT.
JUST AS EUROPE'S FEARS ARE BRINGING TURKEY BACK INTO AMERICA'S
FOLD, THE INTERNAL CONTRADICTIONS IN IRAN ARE BRINGING THIS
COUNTRY BACK TOWARDS THE U.S. IN IRAN, THERE ARE TWO
COUNTRIES: THE LEGAL ONE, A THEOCRACY BY THE MOLLAHS. AND THE
REAL COUNTRY MADE UP OF A YOUNG POPULATION. THESE TWO
COUNTRIES ARE VOTING ON JUNE 17. THE DIVINE SURPRISE FOR THE
U.S. IS THAT IN THIS RACE, THE BEST-PLACED CANDIDATE IS
RAFSANDJANI, WHO WANTS TO USE IRANIAN OIL TO ATTEMPT A
HISTORIC COMPROMISE BETWEEN THE REGIME AND THE COUNTRY'S YOUNG
POPULATION. WHAT RAFSANDJANI WANTS IS TO INTEGRATE IRAN IN THE
WORLD ECONOMY AND TO FIND, TO THAT END, A MODUS OPERANDI WITH
THE AMERICANS. IN ORDER TO SAVE HIS POSITION, RAFSANDJANI
WANTS TO TRY THE `CHINESE' WAY: A POLITICAL DICTATORSHIP,
ECONOMIC LIBERTIES, AND A COMPROMISE WITH AMERICA. WASHINGTON
IS OBSERVING WITH INTEREST." WOLFF

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