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Viewing cable 06PARIS1699, FRENCH ON PM DE VILLEPIN'S MARCH 13 WORKING VISIT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06PARIS1699 2006-03-16 17:05 2011-02-02 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L PARIS 001699

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/16/2016
TAGS: PREL SP FR SY LE
SUBJECT: FRENCH ON PM DE VILLEPIN'S MARCH 13 WORKING VISIT
TO SPAIN

Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Josiah Rosenblatt for reaso
ns 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: According to the French MFA,
counter-terrorism and energy policy were the two central
topics of Prime Minister de Villepin's March 13 talks in
Madrid with Spanish Prime Minister Zapateros. Prior to the
ministerial, the French sent a strong message to the Spanish
MFA on their dissatisfaction with FM Moratinos' recent visit
to Damascus. END SUMMARY

2. (U) Poloff met with MFA Spain desk officer Julien
Voiturier March 16 for a readout of Villepin's March 13
working visit to Madrid. As noted in the press, the two main
issues for the visit were counter-terrorism -- especially
with regard to ETA -- and energy policy. Voiturier noted
that besides the working lunch, the meeting with advisers,
and the press conference, the two prime ministers also
conferred for about twenty minutes without other officials
present.

3. (C) During a press conference with Zapatero, Villepin
lauded Franco-Spanish cooperation in the fight against ETA,
calling it exemplary and noting that it had "borne fruit"
over the past several months. He refused to be drawn out on
the question of whether the Spanish government should
negotiate with ETA if the terrorist group were to renounce
terror, saying that this was an internal issue for Spain.

4. (C) The press focused on recent French and Spanish
"economic patriotism." Both leaders denied being
protectionist, with Villepin calling for a European energy
security policy. He cited Airbus as an example of European
cooperation on a grand scale, and asked why Europe could not
consider doing something on a similar level in the energy
domain. The two also discussed problems hindering the
installation of a high-tension electricity connection in the
Pyrenees.

5. (C) Poloff asked whether the Prime Minister and Zapatero
had discussed Spanish FM Moratinos' March 7 trip to Damascus.
Voiturier said he did not know whether the subject had been
broached during their one-on-one meeting, but noted that, in
the run-up to the ministerial, the French Embassy in Madrid
had passed a strong message to the MFA discouraging separate
approaches to Damascus, noting that UNSYG Special Envoy for
UNSCR 1559 Terje Roed-Larsen is the sole interlocutor for the
Syrians. The Spanish responded that 1) the visit had been
brief, 2) there had been no press involved, and 3) Moratinos
had been motivated by his prior friendship with FM Mouallem.

6. (U) The MFA is now planning for the state visit of King
Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, March 27 through 29, their first
to France in nearly 20 years.

Please visit Paris' Classified Website at:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm

Stapleton