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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Un Summit

Published: Wed 14 Sep 2005 10:16 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 006230
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; USVIENNA FOR USDEL OSCE.
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - UN Summit
Katrina
PARIS - Wednesday, September 14, 2005
(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:
UN Summit
Katrina
B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:
The UN Summit is one of today's major stories eliciting wide
coverage as well as numerous editorial commentaries.
Liberation headlines "At the UN, All Bets Are Off" while the
report from New York is titled "The United States Prefer a
Disunited Nations." In his editorial Gerard Dupuy emphasizes
the UN's usefulness as a "buffer between nations" having kept
"conflicts from developing between member nations." Dupuy,
like Pierre Rousselin in Le Figaro, points to the
responsibility of "stingy nations" happy to use "Bush as a
scapegoat." Rousselin in Le Figaro underscores the "triumph of
conservatism" and Daniel Vernet in Le Monde analyzes the UN
Summit in a report titled: "UN Reform, Indispensable and
Impossible." (See Part C)
The second major international story today is Katrina and
President Bush's statement taking responsibility for his
administration's failings. France Soir selects his remarks as
the sentence of the day, while Liberation reports on a "small
`mea culpa'." The economic press and Le Monde report on the
high costs of the tragedy for insurance companies. Le Monde
headlines: "Katrina: The Most Costly Hurricane in History for
Insurers."
Le Monde interviews NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop
Scheffer on Afghanistan: "The NATO mission in Afghanistan will
need to be included in a wider international mission. but it
is up to the UN to reflect upon the global action that needs
to be carried out in Afghanistan. Drugs are the number one
problem in the country, a problem that affects not only the
country but the western world as well. There is a need for a
single joint mission with the U.S. military, with a single
structure of command and a single definition of the rules of
engagement."
(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:
UN Summit
"UN: Triumph of Conservatism"
Pierre Rousselin in right-of-center Le Figaro (09/14): "The
principle obstacle to the UN reforms are the 191 members
themselves. In this age of globalization. the ills affecting
us all have taken on a worldwide dimension. The UN is
increasingly becoming indispensable. The UN is first and
foremost the guarantor of international legitimacy. We must
grant the UN uncontested representation. But this is easier
said than done. If reforming the UNSC appears stalled, it is
because its members have only one obsession: keeping their
rivals away. No one will admit it, but this triumph of
conservatism sits well with the five UNSC members, including
France and the U.S. For Washington, the UN reform was
acceptable only if it fit with its own interests. The summit
will end with a very disappointing conclusion. These
difficulties prove to what extend the international community
is divided because of national interests. But the anticipated
failure at the summit may be explained by the excessive
ambition of the reforms proposed. Maybe the answer lies in
gradual reforms that will progressively confer effectiveness
to a diplomatic institution which is irreplaceable."
"Selfishness"
Gerard Dupuy in right-of-center Le Figaro (09/14): "What's the
use of the UN? Not much according to Bush, who is suspected,
with reason, of wanting to sabotage it. Others say that at
least the UN serves to annoy Bush. The UN, which is indeed
dysfunctional, reflects in fact the position of its members
and their selfishness. Yet the UN, lame as it is, has helped
in keeping war between its members at bay, which is the main
reason for its creation. The UN as buffer does not cost that
much when one thinks of its usefulness. After having served
international peace, the UN is now invested with the mission
of serving development and worldwide prosperity. The UN
progresses slowly. But it progresses despite Bush, who sooner
or later will be left by the side of the road and in spite of
those who use him as a scapegoat to serve their own
stinginess."
"UN Reform: Indispensable and Impossible"
Daniel Vernet in left-of-center Le Monde (09/14): "For the
sake of effectiveness, the U.S. does not want an enlarged
UNSC. For the sake of legitimacy, the Bush administration does
not want to depend on an institution where non-democratic
countries have a seat. Without regard for universalism, the
U.S. would prefer a union of democracies. The Americans do not
want the death of the UN. They want an organization that will
not hinder them, and in this regard today's UN is not so bad.
While they have criticized Annan, they are pretty well
satisfied with a Secretary General who is weakened. There is
no reason for them not to ratify the final declaration. After
all, interpretation and implementation of the text will depend
on the UNSC, where U.S. power remains intact."
Katrina
"A Momentary Breakdown"
Right-of-center Les Echos's editorial board comments (09/14):
"In the face of Katrina's huge destruction, America was for a
time in the grips of a temporary breakdown. The gap between
high-tech simulation and real-time human response became
apparent. The social ills of the nation were also made
apparent. The obvious shortcomings of the federal government,
added to President Bush's initial and prolonged lack of focus
have fueled political controversies. And finally, the
difficulty in mobilizing sufficient personnel has cast doubt
on the resources of the nation, which are reputed to be
bottomless. But to those who are eager to give lessons, we say
that nature does not inflict the same harsh treatment to our
tempered regions. We must not be surprised in the hardened
attitude of American society to the tragedy: it is its usual
attitude in day-to-day events. It is probably this hard
approach which explains the extraordinary performances of the
U.S. economy, even at the cost of these failures. After these
initial and spectacular failings America will know how to re-
organize itself. If its administration learned some measure of
humility on the way, all would not be lost." STAPLETON
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