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Cablegate: France Joins U.S. In Opposing Nicaraguan

VZCZCXRO1178
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHFR #1791 2690909
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 250909Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4381
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA 0292
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 1662
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2830

C O N F I D E N T I A L PARIS 001791

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/24/2018
TAGS: MOPS PREL EUN GG NU RU FR
SUBJECT: FRANCE JOINS U.S. IN OPPOSING NICARAGUAN
RECOGNITION OF SOUTH OSSETIA AND ABKHAZIA

REF: STATE 96677

Classified By: PolMC Kathleen H. Allegrone for reasons 1.4 (B & D).

1. (C) The GOF shares USG opposition to Nicaragua's
recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia according to French
MFA desk officer Philippe Garcia de la Rosa who spoke to
poloff on September 22. Garcia said the GOF agrees with all
points in reftel and further rejects efforts to liken the
independence of Kosovo to Russian military action in S.
Ossetia, Abkhazia and Georgia. He said the EU had already
delivered similar points in a demarche to Managua.

2. (C) Garcia said President Ortega's decision to recognize
S. Ossetia and Abkhazia was "not surprising," as tensions
between the West and Ortega, especially between Nicaragua and
the EU, have been increasing. Garcia said Ortega, like
Chavez in Venezuela and Morales in Bolivia, is trying to mask
internal problems -- especially regarding government efforts
to limit participation of opposition parties in the political
process -- by diverting attention to international issues.

3. (C) For example, Garcia said the EU has recently been
troubled by Nicaraguan vice foreign minister Coronel Keautz's
threat on August 14 to declare Swedish ambassador Eva
Zetterberg persona non-grata (PNG). While we defer to
Embassies Stockholm and Managua on the political analysis of
these issues, local Swedish embassy contacts in Paris told
poloff on September 24 that Zetterberg departed post on
August 21 as part of a global downsizing of Swedish missions,
and not as a result of being PNGed. Although Zetterberg was
publicly critical of GON efforts to limit participation of
opposition parties in the upcoming November municipal
elections, the Swedes indicated that the harsh public
statement by Keautz was most likely the GON's way of
expressing its displeasure with the closing of the Swedish
embassy there.

4. (C) Garcia said the GOF and EU will continue to work to
improve relations between the EU and GON, but noted that
France would not be taking a leading role in this effort.
Rather, France will remain "prudent" and "reserved" on
bilateral relations with Nicaragua.

5. (C) COMMENT: Garcia reflects a European preference to
coordinate foreign policy within the European Union
particularly on issues of relatively marginal importance in
Paris. As if to exemplify the limited importance of
Nicaragua in French foreign policy priorities, Garcia noted
that Nicaragua has not had an ambassador in Paris for the
past two years, the reasons for which he said were not clear.
If this meeting is broadly reflective of overall French
policy on Nicaragua, then France seems content to lend
support to EU initiatives from behind the scenes. END
COMMENT.

Please visit Paris' Classified Website at:
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Fran ce

STAPLETON

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