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  1. "213589","6/23/2009 16:07","09PARIS848","Embassy Paris","CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN","09PARIS815","VZCZCXRO7020
  2. PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
  3. DE RUEHFR #0848/01 1741607
  4. ZNY CCCCC ZZH
  5. P 231607Z JUN 09
  6. FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
  7. TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6530
  8. INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
  9. RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1721
  10. RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY 2641
  11. RHMFIUU/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY","C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 000848
  12.  
  13. NOFORN
  14. SIPDIS
  15.  
  16. E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/23/2019
  17. TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINS, KDEM, PINR, MA, FR
  18. SUBJECT: MADAGASCAR:  FRENCH SUPPORT POLITICAL CONSENSUS
  19. LEADING TO ELECTIONS
  20.  
  21. REF: A. EMBASSY ANTANANARIVO-KANEDA E-MAIL (JUNE 23)
  22.      B. PARIS 815
  23.  
  24. Classified By: Acting Minister Counselor for Political Affairs Andrew Y
  25. oung, 1.4 (b/d).
  26.  
  27. 1.  (C/NF)  SUMMARY:  France continues to favor a political
  28. consensus among contending parties that would lead to
  29. credible elections, Presidential AF-advisor Remi Marechaux
  30. said on June 23.  However, neither Rajoelina, Ravalomanana
  31. (who is recruiting mercenaries in France), nor Ratsiraka are
  32. making any conciliatory gestures.  The international
  33. community needs to continue pressuring them.  SADC\'s recent
  34. policy shift is helpful, as is its naming of Joaquim Chissano
  35. as SADC mediator for Madagascar; the next International
  36. Contact Meeting should take place in Antananarivo.  Marechaux
  37. denied rumors indicating that France was providing a military
  38. plane to the HAT; he said that bilateral relations were in a
  39. \"gray zone,\" with the new French Ambassador not yet having
  40. presented his credentials.  Marechaux said that France was
  41. abiding by the EU\'s strictures against \"no new
  42. non-humanitarian assistance,\" which the EU was enforcing
  43. strictly.  The GOF is trying its best not to embroil itself
  44. in the dispute over control over Madagascar\'s embassy in
  45. Paris.  Marechaux labeled French businessman and
  46. behind-the-scenes fixer Robert Bourgi as an opportunist with
  47. little experience in Madagascar, who was asked to involve
  48. himself by Franco-Malgache insider Patrick Lelu (phonetic).
  49. END SUMMARY.
  50.  
  51. CONSENSUS LEADING TO ELECTIONS IS NECESSARY
  52.  
  53. 2.  (C)  Remi Marechaux, AF-advisor at the French presidency,
  54. discussed Madagascar on June 23, noting up front that \"our
  55. policy is similar to yours and the international community\'s
  56. -- there must be a political consensus among the contending
  57. parties that will allow for credible elections.\"  Marechaux
  58. said that SADC\'s recent shift in policy -- its renunciation
  59. of reinstalling Ravalomanana by military means, its general
  60. re-alignment with the rest of the international community,
  61. and its naming of Joaquim Chissano as SADC mediator for
  62. Madagascar -- was most helpful.  Marechaux remarked that the
  63. next meeting of the International Contact Group should be in
  64. Antananarivo, which he said would demonstrate support for the
  65. new SADC mediator.
  66.  
  67. RAJOELINA
  68.  
  69. 3.  (C)  That said, Marechaux said that outside pressure was
  70. necessary to prod the three main parties -- Rajoelina,
  71. Ravalomanana, and Ratsiraka -- into forming a consensus,  In
  72. Marechaux\'s view, each of them was responsible for the lack
  73. of progress.  Rajoelina was surrounded by HAT hard-liners who
  74. would oppose an agreement and subsequent elections because
  75. this would ultimately lead to their losing power.  Some of
  76. these hard-liners wanted to go it alone and form, in their
  77. view, a permanent government, regardless of internal and
  78. international opinion.  Marechaux said that France had been
  79. advising the HAT camp not to pursue the hard-liners\' approach.
  80.  
  81. 4.  (C)  Marechaux said that Rajoelina himself was not
  82. helping matters by remaining somewhat coy about his own
  83. intentions to run.  Marechaux said that despite declarations
  84. that Rajoelina would not run and his promises not to amend
  85. the constitution to eliminate the age issue, it was not clear
  86. what Rajoelina\'s intentions were.  All of this was
  87. complicated by the \"totally untransparent\" prosecution and
  88. conviction of Ravalomanana and the prohibition against his
  89. running for office, which the HAT had handled in a completely
  90. clumsy manner.  Marechaux thought that even if Rajoelina ran,
  91. it was not clear that he would win, given the concentration
  92. of his support in the capital and lack of it elsewhere.
  93.  
  94. RAVALOMANANA
  95.  
  96. 5.  (C/NF)  As for Ravalomanana, Marechaux said that he
  97. remained obsessed with making a come-back and being
  98. reinstalled in power, despite the \"fantasy nature\" of such an
  99. ambition.  Marechaux confided that Ravalomanana was
  100. continuing to try to recruit mercenaries, including within
  101. France.  Marechaux said that some of those in France whom
  102. Ravalomanana had attempted to recruit had contacted the GOF,
  103. in part because Ravalomanana, in making his sales pitch, had
  104. claimed that \"the Elysee (i.e., French Presidency) is
  105. supporting me.\"  Marechaux said that the Presidency denied
  106. these claims and then referred Ravalomanana\'s case to other
  107. branches of the GOF responsible for monitoring this kind of
  108. activity.  Marechaux said the Presidency was not pleased that
  109.  
  110. PARIS 00000848  002 OF 003
  111.  
  112.  
  113. Ravalomanana was recruiting mercenaries in France or claiming
  114. that the French supported this activity.
  115.  
  116. 6.  (C)  Marechaux said that assumptions that France was
  117. \"anti-Ravalomanana\" were much exaggerated.  Ravalomanana
  118. might not like France much (although not enough, apparently,
  119. to refrain from claiming France supported him) but France had
  120. developed a modus operandi in dealing with him.  He was
  121. helpful on Mayotte, which the French valued.  Marechaux said
  122. that Rajoelina feared Ravalomanana\'s return because
  123. Ravalomanana had sufficient personal wealth and resources to
  124. carry out a comprehensive campaign that Rajoelina would find
  125. difficult to counter, much less overcome.  Marechaux
  126. commented that one of the HAT\'s bad decisions was to shut
  127. down Ravalomanana\'s extensive business empire, which resulted
  128. in sudden unemployment for many and thus a ready-made host of
  129. Ravalomanana supporters.
  130.  
  131. RATSIRAKA
  132.  
  133. 7.  (C)  Marechaux remarked that Ratsiraka had also injected
  134. himself into the turmoil by proposing that he, as
  135. Madagascar\'s senior military man, be considered to run any
  136. military-based transitional body.  Marechaux said that
  137. Ratsiraka, while ambitious, probably could be placated into
  138. dropping out if either side promised to give him a house and
  139. other emoluments in recognition of his past accomplishments.
  140. Marechaux confided that France had promised that it would
  141. medevac Ratsiraka if the need arose.  Marechaux said that
  142. Ratsiraka, in essence, needed to have his ego stroked and
  143. then would likely exit center stage.
  144.  
  145. DIPLOMATIC \"GRAY ZONE\" AND EU AID STRICTURES
  146.  
  147. 8.  (C)  Marechaux said that French relations with Madagascar
  148. had entered into a bit of a gray zone, with the new French
  149. Ambassador not having presented his credentials, so as not to
  150. legitimize the HAT.  France was adhering to the EU\'s
  151. restrictions on not providing new non-humanitarian assistance
  152. to Madagascar.  Marechaux indicated that the EU was
  153. interpreting this ban quite narrowly.  He said that France
  154. had wanted to provide 1.5 million euros (about 2.1 million
  155. USD) for a small project to clean up waste and pollutants at
  156. a certain site in Antananarivo.  The EU blocked this as
  157. \"development assistance\" despite the obvious public health
  158. aspect to the project.
  159.  
  160. NO FRENCH PLANE FOR MADAGASCAR
  161.  
  162. 9.  (C)  Responding to issues raised in ref A e-mail,
  163. Marechaux said he was not aware of France\'s providing
  164. Madagascar with a military plane, and he doubted that any
  165. such project was in train.  However, he said he would
  166. investigate and contact us if necessary.  He noted that there
  167. had been an earlier program to provide Madagascar with small
  168. surveillance planes that were used to spot cattle rustling,
  169. which he said was an endemic problem.  He speculated that any
  170. such plane to be delivered might be in connection with that
  171. (non-military) program.  But he repeated that he had no
  172. knowledge of any such transfer of a plane either now or in
  173. the recent past.
  174.  
  175. MADAGASCAR\'S EMBASSY IN PARIS
  176.  
  177. 10.  (C)  Marechaux said that the GOF was trying not to
  178. become involved in the dispute at Madagascar\'s Embassy in
  179. Paris where factions within the Embassy were fighting for
  180. control over the Embassy and its buildings.  The police have
  181. been told to provide protection and maintain law and order
  182. outside the grounds of the Embassy but not to enter the
  183. facility, except in exigent circumstances such as a fire or
  184. gunshots and the like.  Marechaux said that fights among
  185. Embassy staff had broken out over whether Ravalomanana\'s or
  186. Rajoelina\'s portrait adorned the walls, with supporters of
  187. both factions changing locks and trying to assert control.
  188. Marechaux said that one of the Embassy counselors has been
  189. designated by Antananarivo as charge d\'affaires, a.i., but
  190. that a woman with no diplomatic credentials who had recently
  191. shown up had been sending diplomatic notes and otherwise
  192. acting as if in charge.  (NOTE:  We believe this woman to be
  193. Rakotomanga Hajanirina, according to what Malgache Ambassador
  194. Narisoa told us on June 16.  END NOTE.)  Marechaux regretted
  195. this situation but said that the Embassy, even before
  196. Ravalomanana\'s ouster, was largely out of the loop concerning
  197. bilateral relations, with most issues managed by the French
  198. Embassy in Antananarivo working with the central government.
  199.  
  200. (C/NF)  ROBERT BOURGI
  201.  
  202. PARIS 00000848  003 OF 003
  203.  
  204.  
  205.  
  206. 11.  (C/NF)  As had his colleague Romain Serman (ref B, paras
  207. 7-11), Marechaux expressed discomfort with private
  208. businessman and behind-the-scenes fixer Robert Bourgi\'s
  209. apparent involvement in Madagascar.  He said that Bourgi had
  210. no prior experience with Madagascar but had been asked to get
  211. involved by Patrick Lelu (phonetic), a Franco-Malgache
  212. businessman and advisor to several leading Malgache figures.
  213. Marechaux said that Bourgi, looking for new business after
  214. the death of Gabon\'s President Bongo, was eager to seek new
  215. opportunities in Madagascar.  Marechaux repeated that Bourgi
  216. was not in any way associated with the GOF and was interested
  217. only in exploiting his own opportunities.
  218.  
  219.  
  220.  
  221.  
  222. BERRY
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