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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - President Bush On Secret Prisons

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Lucia A Keegan 09/08/2006 04:25:10 PM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS PARIS 05990

SIPDIS
cxparis:
ACTION: PAO
INFO: ARS DCM AMB POL

DISSEMINATION: PAOX
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: PRS: CDOELL
DRAFTED: PR: FTHOMAS
CLEARED: NONE

VZCZCFRI058
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 005990

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.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR

SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - President Bush on Secret Prisons
Iran Lebanon
PARIS - Thursday, September 07, 2006

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(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

President Bush on Secret Prisons
Iran
Lebanon

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

Popular Le Parisien begins its 9/11 commemoration series with
today's headline reading: "The Tragedy That Changed the World."
Inside, Ambassador Stapleton's interview carries the title: "The
Terrorists Have Not Given Up," a quote taken from the interview.
This morning on FR2 the media review, which included the special
issue by Le Parisien, prominently showed the interview page and the
photo of Ambassador Stapleton.

President Bush's announcements on "secret prisons" which the media
is calling a "tacit acknowledgement they exist," (See Part C),
Moscow's possible changing stance on Iran, (See Part C), the latest
controversy over Syria's alleged involvement in a bombing attack in
Lebanon, and the pressure on Tony Blair to step down from the Labor
Party dominated international news, while the debate over the
privatization of GDF and its merger with Suez is one of today's lead
front-page stories. Le Monde headlines "The UMP Alone Against the
World" while Les Echos titles: "GDF: The National Assembly to the
Trenches." Liberation writes about the "Battle for Energy" echoed on
the front page of La Croix: "The Energy Battle Is Only Just
Starting."

All media outlets reported that Israel announced it would lift its
air and sea blockade of Lebanon on Thursday, because international
forces were ready to move into place to impose an arms embargo on
the Hezbollah militia. TF1 noted that four French ships "were
patrolling near the coast," maintaining the embargo until the
arrival of the UNIFIL ships in the next few days. Radio Europe 1
focused on new hope for the Lebanese economy: "The end of the
blockade should give a boost to the economy," reported the
journalist.

Le Figaro reports that "Brussels is studying a 'plan B' to avoid a
break with Ankara on the negotiations in view of Turkey's EU
membership this fall..." Alexandrine Bouhliet explains that "one of
Brussels' more severe punishments would be to suspend the talks
until Ankara made a gesture towards Cyprus." But one of the options
on which Ankara is counting is the "freezing" of certain topics in
the negotiations, while overall negotiations continue.

Le Parisien interviews FM Douste-Blazy on France's visa procedures
and new biometric visas "which will help to curb fraud and illegal
immigration."

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

President Bush on Secret Prisons

"Washington Empties CIA Secret Prisons"
Phillipe Gelie in right-of-center Le Figaro (09/07): "The alleged
mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks has been transferred to
Guantanamo. This is the first time Washington has acknowledged the
existence of a network of secret prisons abroad. The U.S.
President's tone was sharp and defensive as he defended the CIA's
secret program and the usefulness of 'renditions.' President Bush

SIPDIS
emphasized that 'big fish' had been caught and that thanks to firm,
necessary, legal and safe CIA interrogations, attacks had been
foiled and accomplices arrested... But while the President is
emptying these prisons, he also said the CIA's 'secret program
remains crucial.'"

Iran

"Russia Changing Its Stance on Iran"
Fabrice Node-Langlois in right-of-center Le Figaro (09/07): "Moscow
may be ready to consider the issue of economic sanctions on
Tehran... Is this a diplomatic shift which could lead Tehran to
change its attitude? Or is this pure diplomatic rhetoric? There
have been several suggestions going in this direction, one from the
Russian FM Lavrov and one from Putin's Sherpa, Igor Chuvalov. One
expert believes that 'contrary to what the West thinks, Putin is not
Iran's advocate...' The economic interests that link Moscow and
Tehran notwithstanding, Russia did not want a conflict that will
destabilize Iran. And so it could be that Tehran's obstinacy might
in the end be detrimental to Moscow's interest... It is interesting
to note that Serguey Lavrov made his remarks from South Africa, a
country which is also a nuclear customer of Russia and which
recently irritated the U.S. by re-affirming Iran's right to develop
its commercial nuclear program. All the players dealing with Iran
will have an opportunity to clarify their positions today in Berlin
where the P5+1 are meeting."
"Iran's Dangerous Paradoxes"
Alexandre Adler in right-of-center Le Figaro (09/07): "The decision
to send Khatami to Washington indicates Tehran's willingness to
negotiate with Washington and Europe... The fact that Nasrallah, who
finds his inspiration in Tehran, saw fit to ask the Lebanese people
to forgive Hezbollah for kidnapping the Israeli soldiers is another
sign that the wind blowing from Iran has shifted. The time seems to
have come for Tehran to proclaim its victory and engage on the path
of a compromise. But will the West understand these complex signals
early enough to avoid an unnecessary clash?"

Lebanon

"Peace for Lebanon Must Be Reinvented Urgently"
Former socialist Defense Minister and President of the Foreign
Relations Commission, Paul Quiles, in left-of-center Liberation
(09/07): "In Lebanon, like in Bosnia, Kosovo, and even Rwanda and
Darfur today, the major powers are mired in their horse-trading and
have failed to take the measure of the seriousness and gravity of
the situation... It is undeniable that France contributed to
kindling hope when it announced its availability to participate in
an international force, while the U.S. was hampered by the war in
Iraq and its lack of credibility in the Arab world... But why did
France, perhaps out of vanity, speak exclusively with the U.S.
instead of including Europe? Why has Europe not spoken up with one
voice and ... more generally why do we shy away from building a
European army? ... The time lost in diplomacy was essentially due to
America's desire to give Israel some additional time... Beyond
Lebanon, the crisis proves the hesitancy of major powers when it
comes to dealing with the Middle East. It has become clear that the
'worship of force' in America as well as Israel is not the answer.
While we must act against terrorism, force must be the last
resort... The Iranian crisis could well once again emphasize the
inconsistency of our major powers... The diversity and
interdependency of the crises in the Middle East must dictate a
global strategy accompanied by political reform rather than isolated
actions guided by ideology and talk of terrorism and Islamism...
While this might have been President Bush's initial intent with the
GMEI, Iraq has proven the absurdity of this initiative." STAPLETON

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