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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - King Fahd's Death

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 005273

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 - KING FAHD'S DEATH


PARIS - PARIS - AUGUST 2, 2005

(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

1. KING FAHD'S DEATH

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

INTERNATIONAL NEWS IS DOMINATED BY THE DEATHS OF KING FAHD AND
OF SUDAN'S VICE PRESIDENT, IN ADDITION TO IRAN'S NUCLEAR
PROGRAM. JOHN BOLTON'S RECESS APPOINTMENT TO THE UN TOPS US-
RELATED NEWS, FOLLOWED BY NASA'S PLANS TO REPAIR THE DISCOVERY
SHUTTLE UP IN SPACE.

ALL NEWSPAPERS EXTENSIVELY REPORT ON KING FAHD'S DEATH AND ALL
EDITORIALS ARE ALSO DEDICATED TO THAT SUBJECT. HERE ARE A FEW
HEADLINES: "FAHD, DEATH OF A UNITED STATES ALLY" FOR CENTRIST
FRANCE-SOIR, "SAUDI ARABIA: THE NEW KING OF OIL" FOR LEFT-OF-
CENTER LIB ATION, "ARABIA, THE SUCCESSION'S CHALLENGE" FOR
RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO, "SAUDI ARABIA FACES THE REFORMS'
CHALLENGE" FOR ECONOMIC LA TRIBUNE AND "SAUDI ARABIA: THE
DEATH OF KING FAHD OPENS A NEW ERA." (SEE PART C)

SEVERAL NEWSPAPERS DEVOTE ARTICLES ON SUDANESE VICE PRESIDENT
GARANG'S DEATH. RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO HEADLINES "GARANG'S
DEATH SIGNS PEACE AWAY" AND SAYS: "GARANG HAD MANAGED TO
IMPOSE HIMSELF AS THE UNIQUE REPRESENTATIVE OF A PEACE HIGHLY
SUPPORTED BY THE UNITED STATES. WITH HIS DEATH, SUDAN IS
FRIGHTENED OF FALLING INTO THE UNKNOWN."

BOLTON'S NOMINATION AS US AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS IS
REPORTED AMONG THE PRESS. CENTRIST LE PARISIEN HEADLINES "BUSH
IS IMPOSING HIS AMBASSADOR". RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO "THE
HAWK BOLTON AT THE UN DESPITE CONGRESS" AND NOTES "NO US
AMBASSADOR TO THE UN HAD REACHED THAT POST THROUGH THIS
MEANS." SEVERAL PAPERS POINT OUT THAT THE NOMINATION IS VALID
ONLY FOR THE DURATION OF THE CURRENT CONGRESS, THAT IS TO SAY
JANUARY 2007.

FOLLOWING THE POLEMICS SURROUNDING OSMAN HUSSAIN - ONE OF THE
LONDON TERRORISTS - WHO MANAGED TO TRAVEL FROM LONDON TO ROME
THROUGH PARIS WITHOUT BEING ARRESTED, CENTRIST FRANCE-SOIR
POINTS OUT THAT ACCORDING TO THE INTERIOR MINISTER, BIOMETRIC
PASSPORTS `MIGHT' HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO HIS ARREST.

THIS MORNING, DURING AN INTERVIEW ON PRIVATE RADIO EUROPE 1
PRIME MINISTER DE VILLEPIN DECLARED THAT IT WAS `NOT
CONCEIVABLE' THAT THE EUROPEAN UNION ENGAGES ITSELF IN
NEGOTIATIONS WITH TURKEY AS LONG AS THE LATTER HAS NOT
RECOGNIZED CYPRUS.

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

SAUDI ARABIA

"AFTER FAHD"
PIERRE ROUSSELIN IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (08/02) "THE
DEMOCRATIZATION WANTED BY THE UNITED STATES HAS STARTED WITH
GREAT CAREFULNESS, WITH THE FIRST BALLOT IN THE COUNTRY THIS
YEAR: THE ELECTION OF HALF OF THE MEMBERS OF THE MUNICIPAL
COUNCILS. KING FAHD HAD REINFORCED THE STRATEGIC ALLIANCE WITH
AMERICA, WHICH WAS TO REACH ITS PEAK IN 1991 DURING THE WAR TO
LIBERATE KUWAIT. SINCE THEN, THERE HAVE BEEN THE ATTACKS
AGAINST THE TWIN TOWERS IN NEW YORK ON THE 11TH OF SEPTEMBER
2001 AND THE SHOCK DUE TO THE FACT THAT FIFTEEN OUT OF
NINETEEN TERRORISTS WERE SAUDIS. ARABIA MANAGED TO RECOVER.
WITH KING ABDULLAH, IT NOW NEEDS TO REFORM."

"A NARROW WAY"
PASCAL AUBERT IN ECONOMIC LA TRIBUNE (08/02) "DESPITE HIS
EIGHTY-TWO YEARS, KING ABDULLAH IS NOT REGARDED AS HOSTILE TO
CHANGES. HE IS WATCHING TO ENSURE ANY EVOLUTION OF THE KINGDOM
GOES THROUGH A MEASURED AND CONTROLLED PROCESS. AND NEVER MIND
THOSE WHO ARE DREAMING OF IMMEDIATE DEMOCRATIZATION OR THOSE
IN FAVOR OF THE STATUS QUO. SOCIAL PROGRESS AND POLITICAL
OPENNESS WILL HAPPEN WITH MEASURED STEPS UNLESS SOCIAL
TENSIONS WERE CREATED THAT COULD LEAD TO DEGENERATION."

"SAUDI AMBIGUITIES"
FRANOIS ERNENWEIN IN CATHOLIC LA CROIX (08/02) "AT THE ARABIC
COURT, THE IDEA OF A CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY ALWAYS MADE
PEOPLE SHUDDER. DIPLOMATIC AMBIGUITIES, WHEN THE RAPPROCHMENT
WITH THE UNITED STATES AND THE WEST DURING THE FIRST GULF
WAR.DID NOT PREVENT THE RECOGNITION OF THE AFGHANISTAN TALIBAN
REGIME. IN FACE OF THE TERRORIST THREAT OF ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS,
AMONG WHICH MANY ARE FROM SAUDI ARABIA, SUCH AS OSAMA BIN
LADEN, RIYADH HAS CHOSEN TO PLAY IT BY EAR. SOMETIMES CLOSE,
SOMETIMES AWAY FROM THE WESTERN PREOCCUPATIONS."

"MAGIC AND SAUDI MIRAGES"
FRANOISE CROUIGNEAU IN ECONOMIC LES ECHOS (08/02) "SAUDI
ARABIA WHICH HAS BEEN ONE OF THE MAIN BUYERS OF WEAPONS IN THE
WORLD IN THE LAST THIRTY YEARS WILL REMAIN WOOED. AND EVEN IF
THEY WERE TO DIVERSIFY THEIR SOURCES OF SUPPLY, THE UNITED
D
STATES KNOWS IT WILL STILL DEPEND FOR A LONG TIME ON A COUNTRY
THAT HAS A QUARTER OF THE WORLD'S OIL RESERVES AND EVEN MORE
OF AN UNEQUALLED PRODUCTION POSSIBILITY TO ABSORB POSSIBLE
CRISIS. NOT TO FORGET A ROLE TO LIMIT THE RISKS OF IMPLOSION
IN THE MIDDLE EAST."

"GUN"
PATRICK SABATIER IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIB ATION (08/02) "THE
LANDSCAPE OF THE SAUDI DESERT IS ALMOST IMMUTABLE, NEW MONARCH
OR NOT. BUT ITS FABULOUS UNDERGROUND DOES NOT CONTAIN ONLY
OIL: THE GAME OF TECTONICS ACCUMULATES TREMENDOUS ENERGIES
THAT ARE CALLING FOR BREAKING OUT, INTO UPHEAVAL. IT'S NOT FOR
NOTHING THAT THE ONE FAMOUS SAUDI OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY'S
BORDERS . IS BIN LADEN. NOTHING IS PREDICTING THAT THE SAUDI
REFORMERS WILL BE CONDEMNED TO FAILURE. BUT THE GUN IS ON
THEIR TEMPLE."


STAPLETON

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