Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Un Resolution 1701 - Cease-Fire -
Lucia A Keegan 08/14/2006 05:19:17 PM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan
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SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - UN Resolution 1701 - Cease-Fire -
PARIS - Monday, August 14, 2006
(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:
UN Resolution 1701 - Cease-Fire - Future International Force
B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:
The cease-fire agreement reached at the UN and endorsed by Israel
and Lebanon makes most front pages, with variations on its
characterization. While Le Croix believes the cease-fire means
"Hope" Liberation acknowledges this is a "Hesitant Peace" and Le
Figaro headlines "A Cease-Fire to the Test." In his Le Figaro
editorial Yves Threard proclaims the cease-fire a "diplomatic
success" and congratulates President Chirac for last week's
clarifications, "which were indeed useful." La Croix's editorial
salutes "the joint diplomatic efforts of the U.S. and France." But
the editorial in Liberation comments on "the tremendous waste" in
Lebanon adding that "on disarming Hezbollah, the resolution is
indeed very thin" and warns against what could "turn into a
quagmire" for the French army. An op-ed in Le Figaro echoes this
point of view: "Nothing is more dangerous (for a peacekeeping force)
than to pretend to maintain peace when in fact the point is to
impose it." The relationship tying Iran to Hezbollah, and hence to
successfully dealing with the wider situation in the region, is
analyzed in a separate op-ed by Ken Weinstein of the Hudson
Institute who writes "that Iran and Syria must be kept out of the
negotiations." (See Part C)
Next to a photo of the action over the weekend, Le Parisien reports
that upon entering the Security Council chamber on Friday, Secretary
Rice kissed French FM Douste-Blazy, and then thanked him personally
in her UNSC remarks for his role in resolving the conflict between
Lebanon, Israel and Hezbollah. Interviewed in Sunday's Le Parisien,
FM Douste-Blazy said "I thanked her [Rice], too... We worked well
with the U.S... The resolution brings about a major political and
historic action: Lebanon will deploy its national army... Israel's
undeniable right to self-defense was reaffirmed, and Lebanon's full
sovereignty was restored. What's important is the political
advances; the military was never a solution." Le Fiagro's Lamia
Oualalou reports that "Paris is claiming responsibility for the
cease-fire... By repeating France's role some twelve times, FM
Douste Blazy did not allow any ambiguity to remain over France's
role... And indeed, after much talk, Paris was able to bring about
Washington to accept many of its demands."
Le Journal du Dimanche interviews PM Villepin who explains France's
role in reaching the cease-fire: "France was always in favor of a
political solution; if the fighting had continued to impose a
solution, as in Iraq, we would be at an impasse with increased
hatred... which serves as fodder for terrorism... The UN resolution
is a step towards a political solution. It is a starting point which
demands determination and vigilance in its implementation. We are
all aware the choice was a difficult one for Israel and for Lebanon.
But opting for peace is always a difficult and courageous choice."
Every network reported this morning that Israel had endorsed the
resolution, immediately after Lebanon. TF1 television said that
UNSCR 1701 was "vague" as it only mentioned the end of the "military
operations", giving Israel and Hezbollah the opportunity to continue
their offensives if they deemed them to be "defensive actions."
However, Radio France Info announced this morning that the bombing
had stopped since 8AM, local time, as demanded by the resolution.
But the reporter also said that Israel was throwing leaflets in
Beirut to inform the population that "if Hezbollah carried on with
the strikes, Israel could respond."
Le Figaro's front page says the cease-fire will be "put to the test"
for at least two reasons: "Israel accepts resolution 1701, and is
committed to stopping its offensive, but will continue to fight
against militias in self-defense. Meanwhile Lebanon accepted the
cease-fire, but Hezbollah does not seem ready to disarm."
Questioning whether the UN is fit to direct an international force
in Lebanon, La Croix says "the temptation was great, for reasons of
efficacy, to have recourse to a NATO force." The article admits,
however, that a NATO force would "appear too closely linked to the
(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:
UN Resolution 1701 - Cease-Fire - Future International Force
"The Day After"
Dominique Quinio in Catholic La Croix (08/14): "With both sides
claiming victory over the enemy, there will be no victor... Despite
its slowness, we must salute the international community and the
joint diplomatic efforts of the U.S. and France. Of noticeable value
is the fact that the Americans, who have been accused of
unilateralism, acknowledged the role of the UN... even if a
cessation of hostilities does not mean peace."
"In the Middle East, the (same) Ambitions Remain"
Yves Threard in right-of-center Le Figaro (08/14): "We must salute
the diplomatic success illustrated by resolution 1701, despite its
contradictions... France weighed in forcefully in the search for a
solution, and managed to pull the U.S. in its wake. Chirac's
clarifications last week were indeed useful... Still there remain
difficulties ahead: among them how to disarm Hezbollah, something
which the resolution does not address... and how to deal with
Nasrallah's newly found success in the Arab-Muslim world... In
southern Lebanon as in Iraq, conventional war methods may not be
enough to put an end to guerrilla fighting. The Islamic movement,
led by Iran, has a strike force which elicits legitimate concerns
and should urge the international community to remain mobilized and
"Why Iran and Syria Must Be Kept Out of the Negotiations"
Ken Weinstein of the Hudson Institute writes in right-of-center Le
Figaro (08/14): "For obvious reasons, France and the U.S. play an
essential role in this conflict. They must absolutely avoid half
measures and accept illusory solutions... that would include
negotiating with Iran and Syria... These must be kept out of the
negotiations. Any weakness that the international community will
show towards these two countries will only reinforce a policy of the
worst... Improvised solutions can satisfy the short term. But they
will not weaken the resolve of dictatorships."
Pierre Haski in left-of-center Liberation (08/14): "After the
battle, the desolation (in Lebanon) is devastating... The residual
violence over the weekend proves there is no victor... This is why
despite resolution 1701, Olmert took the political risk of one last
offensive. And in the end, the relative failure of Israel in
managing this war could carry more weight than the final result: a
result that depends on the credibility of resolution 1701 and which
is rather thin on how to disarm Hezbollah. And as France gets ready
to plunge into what looks very much like a quagmire, the
international community cannot afford to make the slightest error...
Otherwise the cessation of hostilities will only be a parenthesis in
the midst of a prolonged conflict."
"A First Step to Halt a Logic of War"
Jean-Michel Helvig in regional La Republic des Pyrenees (08/14):
"While the means used by Israel during this war are questionable,
its military objectives were not, if one remembers that Northern
Israel has been exposed to increasingly threatening attacks since
Israel's pullout from Lebanon in 2000. By kidnapping two Israeli
soldiers, Hezbollah committed an act of war which Israel used as a
pretext for a major war offensive, thus 'punishing' all of Lebanon.
This is no more commendable than Hezbollah's attacks on civilians.
UN resolution 1701, which orders the two adversaries to stop their
offensive, but not defensive actions, opens the door to numerous
interpretations. But this was a necessary first step to stop the
logic of war."
"The Trap for an International Force"
Etienne Durand of IFRI (French Institute for International Relations
in right-of-center Le Figaro (08/14): "While the initiative of
implementing an international force in Southern Lebanon is morally
commendable, the initiative is strategically dangerous and most
probably destined to fail... In matters of intervention, there are
only two options available: maintaining peace or imposing it.
Nothing is more dangerous (for a peacekeeping force) than to pretend
to maintain peace when in fact the point is to impose it." HOFMANN