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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - U.S. - Eu Summit

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




E.O. 12958: N/A
Iraq North Korea
PARIS - Thursday, June 22, 2006


U.S. - EU Summit
North Korea


La Croix carries an op-ed by Ambassador Stapleton entitled "A Modern
Day Fight to Abolish Slavery" in which he calls for an end "once and
for all" to the blight of trafficking in persons.

France's growth rate for the first half of 2006, a steady 2%, is a
major front-page story. Commentators attribute this growth to
worldwide economic dynamism, but also to increased consumption in
French households. Domestic politics continue to dominate headlines
and editorials, with Liberation headlining: "Why Chirac Puts Up With
Villepin" "despite the PM's missteps and blunders..."

International stories are dominated by Iraq and the fact that "The
White House is on the Defensive" according to Le Figaro, after the
discovery of the bodies of the two soldiers killed after having been
abducted. A separate story is entitled "U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad
Loses Confidence." (See Part C)

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The U.S.-EU Summit is today's second major international story. For
Le Figaro, "Bush Justifies His War on Terror" while Liberation
emphasizes the "Cordial Entente" between the two powers. Both quote
President Bush: "I would like to close Guantanamo..." (See Part C)

Pyongyang's stance is reported in Le Figaro: "Kim Jong Il has his
finger on the trigger, but is ready to negotiate..." (See Part C)
While Somalia's "risk of contagion" is analyzed in Liberation: "The
irresistible rise in power of Somalia's Islamists, many of whom are
members of Al-Qeda, is transforming the Horn of Africa into a powder
keg and Somalia into the most sought after campground in the battle
against terrorism."

Left-of-center weekly Le Nouvel Observateur devotes its editorial to
the controversy triggered by the attack on Israeli lobbies in the
U.S. by John Mearshimer and Stephen Walt. Jean Daniel raises the
question of the Aipac's, (the lobby in question) role in triggering
the war in Iraq: "For the first time the question is raised about
the role of the four men at the helm of Aipac in starting the war in
Iraq with the objective not only of defending Israel, but of helping
Israel occupy all of the Palestinian territories," and poses the
question of Olmert's "true intentions regarding a Palestinian state.
Because in Washington no one believes sincerely that Olmert will
contribute to the building of a Palestinian state. This is allegedly
already the opinion of Condoleezza Rice and of most of the State

Liberation carries an op-ed entitled "Hillary C's Resistible
Ascension." Jacques Amalric analyzes her positioning to "the center,
where elections are won..." which he says is "a strategy for a run
off, which presupposes having won the first round, in this instance
having been chosen by the Democrats: an uncertain outcome at this
point... Despite her efforts, Hillary C. remains a very
controversial figure... Even heavy Republican losses next November
will not stand as a test of the Hillary Clinton effect."

The World Cup Championship and this afternoon's match between the
U.S. and Ghana leads Le Figaro correspondent Philippe Gelie to pen
an analysis explaining why "On the Soccer Planet, the U.S. Remain A
'Hypopower.'" "How is it possible that the military, political,
economic and cultural hyperpower turns into a dwarf in the world of
soccer? Why is the champion of globalization always behind when
every four years the rest of world participates in this
celebration?" Gelie is of the opinion that for the Americans,
"socialist and European soccer falls short of the democratic and
capitalistic American football." And concludes: "Indeed, the other
European invention which has never been adopted by the U.S. is


U.S. - EU Summit

"Bush Justifies His War on Terror"
Pierre Avril in right-of-center Le Figaro (06/22): "Because for
President Bush, the best defense is offense, he did not wait to be
questioned on Guanatanamo to justify, at least temporarily, the
existence of the detention camp, while promising to set everything
in motion to close it... The American President beat the Austrian
President to the draw when he announced: 'I would like to close
Guantanamo...' But the American President made no gesture of
contrition... What President Bush did not appreciate were the
results of a European poll indicating that the U.S. represented a
threat to world peace... The U.S. President explained that for
Americans, 9/11 changed their way of thinking. And his explanations
seemed to satisfy his audience."

"The Newly-Found Entente"
Andre Schlecht in regional L'Alsace (06/22): "Upon looking at it
closely, the U.S.- EU summit has resulted in only one agreement
being signed. Although signed on the 'margins' of the summit, this
agreement must not be ignored because it has to do with the
important sector of education and training... As for disagreements,
the summit's objective was to show that they had been overcome. That
goal has been achieved. Not a word of disagreement filtered out to
the press... This Viennese ball of velvet strokes is not just an
exercise of fagade. It is the expression of a reality. Although
chaos continues in Iraq and Afghanistan's ephemeral stability is
threatened, and although the Middle East is stalled on the roadmap,
the U.S. may have learned that it is best to lead its policy with
Europe than despite it."

"Bush and Europe Stake Out Trade Positions"
Right-of-center Les Echos (06/22): "While President Bush's statement
on the Doha Round was that 'we cannot let this round fail,' he did
not make any concessions to the Europeans... The EU believes the
U.S. needs to further reduce internal subsidies to agriculture... On
the big diplomatic issues, however, the two powers showed their
unity, illustrating the thawing of their relations after the long
breach related to Iraq... Regarding Guantanamo, however George Bush
limited himself to re-stating his desire to close it but that it was
first necessary to know where to transfer the detainees."


"The White House on the Defensive"
Philippe Gelie in right-of-center Le Figaro (06/22): "After the good
news of Zarqawi's elimination, harsh news from Iraq have taken over,
with the discovery of the mutilated bodies of two U.S. soldiers and
... the old but embarrassing episode involving two American soldiers
killed by Iraqi troops... For President Bush, who hoped for a
'reversal of the trend,' this week has marked a return to a
defensive stance, with Japan announcing its troop pullout and
Italy's previous similar announcement."

"U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad Loses Confidence"
Delphine Minoui in right-of-center Le Figaro (06/22): "President
Bush could have done without this new slap in the face... The letter
from Ambassador Khalizad to Secretary Rice depicts a dark picture of
the everyday situation in Iraq, which contrasts with the habitual
optimistic speeches coming from the Bush administration... The
'sensitive' cable, which landed mysteriously on a Washington Post
desk... bases its conclusions on the daily experiences of the U.S.
Embassy in Iraq..."

North Korea

"Pyongyang Has Its Finger on the Trigger"
Jean-Jacques Mevel in right-of-center Le Figaro (06/22): "Kim Jong
Il has his finger on the trigger, but is ready to negotiate... For
North Korea's Stalin-style regime, the opening of direct talks with
Washington is an obsession and a matter of prestige. It would also
mean recognition. Kim Jong Il is worried about his regime since
President Bush put North Korea in the 'axis of evil.' Since then he
keeps asking for guarantees for his country's security. But the Bush
administration's response has never varied: Pyongyang cannot expect
military or political dividends from the U.S. until it has
unequivocally given up on the atomic bomb... But once again, the
White House is facing an impossible choice: it cannot give in to
slightest bit of blackmail and see its already diminished authority
fall further. Yet intransigence towards Pyongyang invariably leads
to the same diplomatic stalemate as with Iran: paralysis with
temporary outbreaks of feverish skirmishes, leaving the adversary
with plenty of time to build up his nuclear arsenal." STAPLETON

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