Viewing cable 09PARIS1461, FRANCE-ISRAEL STRATEGIC DIALOGUE COVERS TURKEY,
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|09PARIS1461||2009-10-29 17:05||2010-11-29 12:12||SECRET//NOFORN||Embassy Paris|
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S E C R E T PARIS 001461 SIPDIS NOFORN E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/29/2019 TAGS: PGOV PREL IS TU SY FR SUBJECT: FRANCE-ISRAEL STRATEGIC DIALOGUE COVERS TURKEY, PEACE PROCESS, SYRIA REF: PARIS 1418 Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Kathy Allegrone, Reasons 1.4(b),(d). ¶1. (S/NF) SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND: French participants in the second annual Franco-Israeli Strategic Dialogue on October 28 noted profound disquiet among the Israelis about Turkey, according to Frederic Bereyziat, Senior MFA Desk Officer for Israel and the Peace Process. Bereyziat told poloff October 29 that the Israelis claimed the Turks have allowed weapons-related material for Iran's nuclear program to transit Turkey, with Prime Minister Erdogan's full knowledge. In the lead up to this Strategic Dialogue, Bereyziat reported, President Sarkozy called Prime Minister Netanyahu directly on October 26, to urge him to establish an independent investigation into the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces in the Gaza conflict. Sarkozy told Netanyahu that such a step would decrease pressure on Israel and its allies stemming from the Goldstone Report, but Netanyahu responded briskly: "No way." Franco-Israeli discussions on the status of the peace process stumbled over a "profound difference on tactics," according to Bereyziat, who also reported the French intention to introduce a Resolution in the U.N. General Assembly designed to prevent the Goldstone Report from returning to the Security Council. Finally, Bereyziat described a division within the Israeli delegation about Syria's openness to the west, with some on the delegation discounting benefits that might accrue to Israel through the re-launching of negotiations, and others supporting the French claim that Israel would put Syria in a bind by suddenly expressing openness to negotiations over the Golan. ¶2. (S/NF) BACKGROUND: As notetaker for the Strategic Dialogue, Bereyziat was in a position to provide a description of these discussions. When serving as the Transatlantic Diplomatic Fellow in the French MFA, poloff often met and worked with Bereyziat. He told poloff October 29 that the Strategic Dialogue may have been his last major meeting for the MFA, as he is leaving the ministry for personal reasons on November 10. END SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND. SECOND ANNUAL FRANCO-ISRAELI STRATEGIC DIALOGUE --------------------------------------------- -- ¶3. (C) Pierre Sellal, Director General of the French MFA, and Yossi Gal, Director General of the Israeli MFA, led their respective delegations in the second annual Franco-Israeli Strategic Dialogue on October 29 in Paris. The "five to six hours" of talks covered a wide range of issues, including the peace process, Turkey, Syria, and Iran, according to Bereyziat. The first bilateral Strategic Dialogue took place in May 2008, approximately a year after President Sarkozy's election. No such exchanges took place under President Chirac, Bereyziat acknowledged, adding that the French now hope to make it an annual tradition. He said the next dialogue will take place late next year. (COMMENT: This new tradition reflects Sarkozy's avowed attempt to create a more balanced French approach to the Middle East by developing a closer rapport with Israel. END COMMENT.) TURKEY ------ ¶4. (S/NF) The French participants in the Strategic Dialogue noted profound disquiet among the Israelis about Turkey, Bereyziat said. He reported that the Israelis claimed the Turks have allowed weapons-related material for Iran's nuclear program to transit Turkey, with Prime Minister Erdogan's full knowledge. The French replied that Israel would need to have clear and concrete proof of such activity before leveling accusations. The Israelis replied that they are collecting evidence which they will eventually publicize. In the meantime, Bereyziat said, the Israelis explained that they will not take strong public positions condemning what they perceive as Turkey's recent strategic shift away from western positions on the peace process, Iran, and Israel's nuclear program. Erdogan's public comments about Israel's nuclear weapons had particularly irked the Israelis, Bereyziat explained, describing them as unprecedented by a Turkish leader. Moreover, the Israelis blamed the Europeans, and especially France, for this shift in Turkey's policy. They said that if Europe had more warmly embraced Turkey, then the Turks would not be taking steps to earn approval in the Arab and Muslim world at the expense of Israel. The French, in response to this accusation, "begged to differ," Bereyziat said. GOLDSTONE REPORT, PEACE PROCESS, UAV TECHNOLOGY --------------------------------------------- -- ¶5. (C/NF) President Sarkozy called Prime Minister Netanyahu directly on October 26, Bereyziat reported, to urge him to establish an independent investigation into the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza. Sarkozy informed Netanyahu that such a step would decrease pressure on Israel and its allies stemming from the Goldstone Report. Netanyahu responded briskly: "No way." French officials emphasized Sarkozy's point again during the Strategic Dialogue, Bereyziat said, and the Israelis continued to reject his advice. (See reftel for a description of earlier French efforts to persuade the Israelis to take this step.) Separately, to prevent the Goldstone Report from further impeding the peace process, the French are now contemplating a pre-emptive approach in the U.N. General Assembly, according to Bereyziat. With this aim in mind, the GOF may float a Resolution that would ensure the Goldstone Report does not return to the Security Council. Bereyziat did not specify further what this draft Resolution might contain. ¶6. (C/NF) Franco-Israeli discussions on the status of the peace process itself resembled a "conversation of the deaf," Bereyziat said. "We have a profound disagreement on tactics, but we obviously agree on the end goal." France has not, however, taken any "punitive" measures following the Gaza conflict, Bereyziat explained. He said that whereas other European countries stopped selling Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) parts to Israel after the conflict, the French have continued to do so. And Bereyziat reported that the French and Israelis did agree on one important point related to the peace process: Iran continues to play a destructive role in the region, creating and prolonging conflicts. SYRIA ----- ¶7. (S/NF) Bereyziat described a division within the Israeli delegation about Syria's openness to the west. Some on the delegation perceived Syrians as intransigent and discounted the possible benefits that might accrue to Israel through the re-launching of direct, or even indirect, negotiations. Others, Bereyziat said, including military representatives "with Ehud Barak's ear," supported the French claim that Israel would put Syria in a bind by suddenly expressing openness to negotiations over the Golan. This group of Israelis believed Syrian leaders seek to free themselves from dependence on Iran and to re-engage fully with the west. RIVKIN