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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cop15, Iran, Italy, Germany-Afghanistan,

VZCZCXRO6515
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1587/01 3491256
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151256Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6062
INFO RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 1827
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0547
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1065
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2570
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1592
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0755
RHMFIUU/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//J5 DIRECTORATE (MC)//
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE
RUKAAKC/UDITDUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 BERLIN 001587

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/PAPD, EUR/PPA, EUR/CE, INR/EUC, INR/P,
SECDEF FOR USDP/ISA/DSAA, DIA FOR DC-4A

VIENNA FOR CSBM, CSCE, PAA

"PERISHABLE INFORMATION -- DO NOT SERVICE"

SIPDIS

E.0. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO KGHG IR IT GM GR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: COP15, IRAN, ITALY, GERMANY-AFGHANISTAN,
GREECE;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Environment) Copenhagen Climate Summit
3. (Iran) Nuclear Conflict
4. (Italy) Aftermath of Attack on Berlusconi
5. (Germany-Afghanistan) Afghanistan/ zu Guttenberg
6. (Greece) Financial Crisis


1. Lead Stories Summary

ZDF-TV's and ARD-TV's primetime newscasts opened with stories on
Defense Minister zu Guttenberg's rejection of allegations that he
lied
about the September 4 airstrikes. Most newspapers led with stories
on
the financial debacle of Bavaria's state bank, BayernLB.
Frankfurter
Rundschau led with a story on the COP15. Editorials focused on the

debate about the September 4 airstrikes in Afghanistan and the
BayernLB.

2. (Environment) Copenhagen Climate Summit

Sddeutsche (12/15) carried a brief front-page story under the
headline "Poor and rich countries argue at the climate summit,"
noting
that "the dispute between the poor and rich countries over sharing
the
burden of climate protection is growing more acute. African
countries
temporarily called off negotiations with industrialized countries."


ZDF-TV's Heute correspondent Volker Angres said in Copenhagen
(12/15):
"Ban Ki Moon will come and exert pressure at this UN conference.
Let's hope that the state leaders will give a new impetus to the
negotiations. However, the presence of 190 state leaders can be
obstructive because everybody wants to look good and nobody wants to

lose face. This means that things will be brought down to the
smallest common denominator. I'm not expecting a powerful
conclusion."

Regional Rhein Neckar Zeitung (12/15) editorialized: "The supposedly

weak countries impressively demonstrate their numerical superiority.

They are backed up by China, which likes to see itself as an
advocate
of the poor because it could avoid reduction goals under Kyoto.
However, everything that carries the old label has not a chance in
the
Untied States.... It is now Connie Hedegaard's turn. The head of
the
negotiations must find a way out of the seemingly helpless
situation.
A compromise might be possible because the threatened islands states

must prefer a new treaty to no treaty at all. It should also be in

their interest to include China. However, to reach that the
industrialized countries must put more money on the table."

Regional Mannheimer Morgen (12/15) opined: "Nothing is too late yet,

the decisive phase of the summit is only starting now. A success

BERLIN 00001587 002 OF 006


will
depend on how much responsibility the U.S. and China are willing to

bear. The conference is historical in any case: for the first time

in history, developing countries did not just play the role of
onlookers during international negotiations. This is the only
positive effect of climate change."

Spiegel Online (12/15) led with a story saying "serious protests
have
shaken Copenhagen in the night to Tuesday. At the margin of the UN

climate summit, the Danish police took action with tear gas and
water
cannons against protesters. The police arrested 200 people."

3. (Iran) Nuclear Conflict

Tagesspiegel (12/15) headlined: "Tougher Stance in Iran," and
reported: "The dispute between the government and the opposition
could
soon escalate again in Iran. Authorities announced the arrest of
several dissidents who are accused of having destroyed photos of the

revolutionary leader Khomeini.... Secretary Clinton described the
U.S.
policy of an extended hand as a failure so far. As a result, she
demanded further international pressure in the nuclear dispute with

Tehran.... Meanwhile, three U.S. backpackers will be charged in
Iran
for illegally crossing the border." Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/15)

headlined: "Arrests in Tehran," and wrote in its intro: "The clashes

between the government and the opposition seem to be escalating in
Iran." The paper also mentions the case of the three U.S. tourists,

noting: "If found guilty they could face a death sentence....
Ahmadinejad recently suggested that Iran could exchange the three
Americans against several Iranian diplomats arrested in Iraq." FT
Deutschland (12/15) headlined: "Tehran's regime steps up repression
-
opposition remains active despite powerful measures against them."
In
a separate splash, the paper noted: "China holds its hand over
Iran."

4. (Italy) Aftermath of Attack on Berlusconi

All papers (12/15) carried reports and some editorials on the bloody

attack on Italy's Prime Minister Berlusconi. They also refer to
conservative Italian politicians who are talking about "a climate of

hatred" that has developed under Berlusconi. Sueddeutsche Zeitung
(12/15) opined under the headline: "Italy, Extremely Heated," and
judged: "The crime has again set in motion the discussion over the
state of the political debate in Italy. The climate has heated up
and
the main reason is Berlusconi himself, not only because he is very
polarizing but it is also inappropriate, because the right-wing
press
is now considering the party leader of the L'Italia dei Valori,
Antonio di Pietro, as being the instigator of the crime. For
months,
Italy's president has called for a more respectful discourse. If

BERLIN 00001587 003 OF 006


this
crime [against Berlusconi] now contributes to a moderation in tone,

then this would be totally appropriate."

Frankfurter Rundschau and Leipziger Volkszeitung (12/15) had this to

say: "In any other country, the attack of a mentally handicapped man

on the leader of the government would soon be forgotten, but in
Italy
it is impossible to return to everyday business. Berlusconi's face

partly covered with blood is the symbol of a country in which the
political discussion changed to hostility and hatred a long time
ago.
An incident like the one from Sunday was imminent and the one who
was
the least surprised at the attack was Berlusconi himself. Since
entering Italy's politics 15 years, ago, he has considerably
poisoned
the political climate in the country. Berlusconi but also the
political hardliners in the opposing camp, such as Antonio di
Pietro,
have turned Italy into a country in which the trenches seem to be
unbridgeable and the camps are no longer able to talk to each
other."

Regional daily WestfQlischer Anzeiger of Hamm (12/15) judged: "Many

critics of Italy's government leader consider the attack a
consequence
of the totally poisoned political climate in Italy. And quite a few

people agree that Berluscone contributed considerably to this
development. We must assume that he will now take advantage of the

attack on him. That is why the attacker also did a great disservice

to those who politically opposed Berlusconi in the past."

Braunschweiger Zeitung (12/15) editorialized: "It is certainly true

that Berlusconi himself has considerably contributed to inflicting
serious damage on Italy's political culture. He has blurred the
limits between political and economic power. Nevertheless, the
secret
delight at the attack should not be allowed. It is appropriate to
show sympathy. Politicians need contact with the people--they must

have a chance to shake hands and public appearances are
indispensable
and must remain possible."

5. (Germany-Afghanistan) Afghanistan/ zu Guttenberg

ARD-TV's Tagesthemen (12/14) opined: "The smart political star has
made a mistake, which he has already admitted. I've never heard
something like this before from a minister. However, he cannot
afford
to make another mistake.... Germany must urgently get to terms with
a
grand illusion: the German army is not a friendly and restrained
army
in Afghanistan. It is an army that has been in a war-like situation

for some time. It fights and is also allowed to kill. All German
governments in recent years did not want to express this truth.

BERLIN 00001587 004 OF 006


This
country needs an open discussion about the shortcomings, the extent

and the duration of the Bundeswehr mission. The chancellor should
take the lead. It's now her turn - staying quiet would be wrong."

N-TV (12/14) commented: "Since August it is clear that fleeing
Taliban
can be hunted down and that weapons may be used. Anyway, it is a
very
artificial distinction whether one attacks fuel tankers or those who

kidnapped them, meaning enemy combatants.... It is high time that
the
lies in this whole debate are stopped. At least since a year and a

half, German troops in Kunduz are at war. It has turned into a new

Taliban stronghold. At war there is the right to eliminate
enemies."

According to Berliner Morgenpost (12/15), "people can see in Berlin

these days how difficult it is to bid farewell to wishful thinking,

i.e. that Germany should serve the international community only as a

peace angel, at best as a pacifist force. A Bundestag fact-finding

committee will now investigate the bomb attack near Kunduz. We hope

that all parliamentarians in the committee will ignore the usual
partisan superficial views and instead make a contribution to
reality
and truth for this country." Der Tagesspiegel (12/15)
editorialized:
"Is this a war or not? Is the Bundeswehr mandate correct? Do we
want
this mission? These are questions which are being directed to the
politicians responsible: to the chancellor, to the 'supreme
commander.' She must explain her position. Now! The Kunduz
incident
is threatening to become a national affair and a disaster at the
international level."

Handelsblatt (12/15) opined: "The fact that the government is trying

to use all tricks to dodge its responsibility is a brazen piece of
contempt of democracy. It is an unmistakable sign that it has
something to hide." Regional daily Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

of Essen (12/15) notes that "three months after the militarily
successful but horribly misguided air strike near Kunduz, the
illusion
that 'we-defend-Afghanistan-and our-freedom' is collapsing. It was

built right from the start on lies and half truths." In the view of

Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung (12/15), "no one in Berlin wanted to

realize that the fight against the Taliban is now under full swing.

But if the Bundestag votes on a military mission, it must know what

this operation looks like. Now a new start in Germany's Afghanistan

policy is necessary. It is true that Angela Merkel inherited this
mission from her predecessor, but she must now make sense of the

BERLIN 00001587 005 OF 006


mission or bring it to an end."

Regional daily Nordsee-Zeitung of Oldenburg (12/15) observed: "Much

more is at stake than a defense minister who has difficulty
defending
his position. At issue is how little humanitarian this
international
[Bundeswehr] mission is and how little it is oriented to security
efforts. At issue is that the claim of sending responsible citizens

in uniform has been forgotten. The events surrounding the bomb
attack
near Kunduz suggest that the tough professionals of the KSK Special

Forces are setting the tone. But when they do what they were
trained
for, there will again be a great outrage. And this is a serious
German perception disorder."

6. (Greece) Financial Crisis

Several papers (12/15) reported of the Greece's financial problems.

Sueddeutsche headlined: "Athens's Excesses," and sub-tiled: "Greece
is
Shocked at its Financial Misery." The paper reported: "Greece is
fighting for its credibility. Prime Minister Papandreou planned to

present a paper on the restructuring of the country's shattered
finances, while Finance Minister Papakonstantinou is trying to take

fears from the Europeans that the Greek fianc system could
collapse....
One of the greatest problems of the country is the inflated state
bureaucracy which has served all previous governments to find jobs
for
relatives and acquaintances."

Die Welt (12/15) headlined: "IWF head Snower Warns Against Greece's

Collapse," and reported: "The Kiel-based Institute for the Global
Economy (IWF) warned against an escalation of the situation in
highly
indebted Greece. Snower said: 'The situation in Greece is really
serious, and the danger of a state bankruptcy is real.' At the same

time, the economists opposed any financial EU assistance. He said:
'Greece must help itself. It would be wrong if Brussels came to the

rescue with financial assistance.'"

In a report under the headline: "Papandreou Announced 'Radical
Reforms,'" Handelsblatt (12/15) wrote: "With a tough speech,
Greece's
socialist Prime Minister Papandreou prepared his compatriots for
'radical reforms' and 'painful cuts' to come to terms with the
current
financial crisis and to avoid the danger of a state bankruptcy. He

said that the sovereignty of the country would be in danger and
added:
'Either we change of we will go down' and appealed to all Greeks to

join forces to master the crisis."

Under the headline: "The Greek Patient," Frankfurter Allgemeine
(12/15) editorialized: "It is a truism but Greece should never have

BERLIN 00001587 006 OF 006

been accepted in the euro zone in 2001. The collective
irresponsibility of Greek governments is clearly older then the
European Monetary Union. But at the latest since the rating of the

country fell below the A level, the trust bonus is over. And the
longer [experts] discuss whether a supranational creditor should
help
out - i.e. other EU member states - the more often we will hear an
alternative demand: the country that has never acquired the
maturity
to become a member of the euro zone, and must leave the monetary
union. However, the EU officials hope that the Greeks will manage a

turnaround. But because of the tense domestic situation this is a
risky calculation. It is more likely that the biggest [EU members]

will help out instead of Greece being excluded [from the Monetary
Union]. This little- reassuring perspective at least allows one
conclusion from the Greek dilemma: The acceptance of new candidates
to
the euro zone will require greater strictness and care."

MURPHY

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