Viewing cable 06PARIS5975, INTERIOR MINISTER SARKOZY ON EVE OF HIS TRIP TO
Every cable message consists of three parts:
- The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
- The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
- The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06PARIS5975.
|06PARIS5975||2006-09-06 15:03||2010-11-30 21:09||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Paris|
VZCZCXRO2593 PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR DE RUEHFR #5975/01 2491539 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 061539Z SEP 06 FM AMEMBASSY PARIS TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1067 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE RUEHC/DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WASHDC RUCPDOC/DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WASHDC RUEATRS/DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 005975 SIPDIS SIPDIS DEPT ALSO FOR EUR/WE, DRL/IL, INR/EUC, EUR/ERA, EUR/PPD, AND EB DEPT OF COMMERCE FOR ITA DEPT OF LABOR FOR ILAB EO 12958 DECL: 04/07/2015 TAGS PGOV, ELAB, EU, FR, PINR, SOCI, ECON SUBJECT: INTERIOR MINISTER SARKOZY ON EVE OF HIS TRIP TO THE U.S. Classified By: Ambassador Craig Stapleton for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) ¶1. (C) Summary: Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy told Ambassador September 5 he was “proud and honored” to be meeting with President Bush on September 12. President Chirac had pressured him “not to go to the U.S.,” Sarkozy said, but this would not stop him from “affirming my loyal friendship” for the U.S. Moreover, it was appropriate for him to have “informal exchanges with the world’s super power since I, after all, have one chance in two of becoming France’s next president.” Sarkozy asked for overviews of the current U.S. position on Iranian issues and the U.S. domestic political situation. Turning to French domestic politics, Sarkozy said “things are going well” for him, “the polls are good and the party is united.” He shrugged off the challenge Socialist Party frontrunner Segolene Royal might pose. “She doesn’t bother me,” he said, while also underlining his conviction that the election would be very, very close. The meeting, punctuated by the visit of Sarkozy’s nine-year old son Louis, offered a rare glimpse of a relaxed Sarkozy. End Summary. “Proud and Honored to Meet with President Bush” --------------------------------------------- -- ¶2. (C) Sarkozy underlined to the Ambassador his gratitude to the President for making room in his schedule for a meeting with Sarkozy (a drop-by in a meeting with NSA Hadley scheduled for September 12). Sarkozy said he felt “proud and honored to meet with President Bush.” Sarkozy confided that President Chirac had pressured him “not to go the U.S.,” but then highlighted why he believed his trip to the U.S. and meeting with the President was appropriate and important. In typical combative, self-assertive fashion, Sarkozy said, “I did not hesitate for an instant” to go ahead with the trip. Sarkozy went on to explain that he considers it an opportunity to “affirm my loyal friendship for the U.S., which, though it may be unpopular” (in France), “I nevertheless openly avow.” Sarkozy then recalled how, in a major campaign speech before eight thousand Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party supporters two days earlier, he had held out as an example to young French people the way “the citizens of the United States, a nation of immigrants, listen to the national anthem and salute the stars and stripes with their hands over their hearts.” ¶3. (C) Sarkozy and the Ambassador discussed the importance of Sarkozy’s establishing “informal contacts” with U.S. leaders before the French presidential elections, before -- if Sarkozy should become president -- the constraints of high office condition outreach to other leaders. Sarkozy judged that it was very fitting and proper for him to meet with the President “of the world’s super-power, since I, after all, have one chance in two of becoming France’s next president.” Iran was the only international issue raised by Sarkozy during this meeting with the Ambassador. Confident about his Own Prospects --------------------------------- ¶4. (C) Turning to French domestic politics, Sarkozy exuded confidence about his own presidential prospects. He was uncharacteristically relaxed during the meeting, as he assessed his chances of prevailing through both rounds of France’s upcoming presidential contest. Sarkozy nonetheless underlined that “whoever the Socialist candidate might be,” the election would still be very close, “fifty-one, forty-nine -- very tight.” Sarkozy dismissed as “unlikely” the possibility that extreme-right National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen might repeat his performance of the first round of the 2002 election. Sarkozy said that “overall, things are looking good for me,” and he pointed to his consistently high poll numbers and his unification of the UMP party as pillars of what he expects should be a successful electoral effort. That said, he affirmed that Chirac remains an adversary who seeks to trip him (Sarkozy) up on his way to the French presidency. ¶5. (C) Sarkozy was nearly cavalier in his dismissal of the capabilities of Poitou-Charentes Region President and Socialist Party frontrunner Segolene Royal. He said, “she doesn’t bother me,” meaning that he did not believe that she would be a formidable opponent. He explicitly pointed to her “lack of experience,” both in withstanding the rigors of high office and those of presidential-level electoral politics, as crippling shortcomings in her ability to mount a credible PARIS 00005975 002 OF 002 presidential candidacy against his. (Comment: Ever since her emergence as a highly popular presidential contender a year ago, Royal has been underestimated by all of France’s professional politicians. End Comment.) Sarkozy mentioned former prime minister Lionel Jospin as a possible alternative to Royal, but did not venture a view on Jospin’s chances of upsetting Royal. He added that he felt Royal’s candidacy was facing increasing turbulence in the run up to the socialists’ primary election (in mid-November), and that this, along with her dominance of the popularity polls with him, “protects me.” (Comment: By absorbing so much of the attention of press and public, Royal is shielding Sarkozy from the sort of criticism and scrutiny that might undercut his candidacy. Sarkozy is making good use of this ‘blocking effect,’ using it to set the agenda for the upcoming campaign in a series of speeches that articulate both principles for action and concrete proposals. End comment.) An Unforgettable Scene ---------------------- ¶6. (C) As the Ambassador was about to leave, Sarkozy went to the line of floor-to-ceiling windows that open from the interior minister’s office to the gardens of the interior ministry, and called over his nine-year old son, Louis, who was playing on the lawn (Sarkozy lives with his family in apartments above his office). Sarkozy was clearly happy -- and proud -- to be in the company of his young son and seemed tickled to be able to introduce him to “the Ambassador of the United States.” Louis appeared at the threshold with a small dog at his feet and a large rabbit in his arms. To shake hands with the Ambassador, Louis put down the rabbit -- and the dog started chasing the rabbit through Sarkozy’s office, which led to the unforgettable sight of Sarkozy, bent over, chasing the dog through the ante-room to his office as the dog chased the rabbit, and Louis filled the room with gleeful laughter. Please visit Paris’ Classified Website at: http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm STAPLETON