May 24, 2007


France's Sarkozy calls to tighten sanctions on Teheran (JPOST.COM STAFF AND AP, 5/24/07)

French President Nicholas Sarkozy called Wednesday for sanctions on Iran to be tightened if the country does not adhere to the West's demands to cease its nuclear agenda.

If Iran attains nuclear weapons, Sarkozy warned, a road to an arms race will be paved that could endanger Israel and southeast Europe, he said during an interview with a German magazine.

Sarkozy announced that France will join the official US-led struggle against head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei, who recommended that Iran be allowed to enrich uranium in some of its nuclear plants.

The Kouchner effect: A new minister signals a new foreign policy (The Economist, 5/24/07)

“OUR silence in the face of the 200,000 deaths and 400,000 refugees of wars in Chechnya is not tenable. Nor is our indifference in the face of the 200,000 deaths from ethnic massacres in Darfur. We need urgently to act, so that Darfur does not remain a shameful page of our own history.” France's new humanitarian foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner? Actually, his boss, Nicolas Sarkozy, during his campaign.

Mr Kouchner's appointment is more than just a deft political gesture. It reflects Mr Sarkozy's desire for a new French “doctrine”, based on values, designed to strengthen France's voice. One element is more emphasis on human rights, particularly in Darfur and Russia. This is where Mr Kouchner, co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, and a former UN governor in Kosovo, comes in. The day after taking office, he held a weekend meeting about Darfur.

A contempt for knee-jerk French anti-Americanism also unites the two men. Mr Sarkozy has called America “the greatest democracy in the world”, and denounced the “arrogance” (if not substance) of France's hostility to war in Iraq. Mr Kouchner was one of the few Frenchmen to see merit in the Iraq intervention, though he criticised its aftermath. Both would hope for better Franco-American relations, which soured after 2003 (though Mr Sarkozy has no plans yet for an official trip). One plus is the choice of Jean-David Levitte, France's ex-ambassador to America, as Mr Sarkozy's national security adviser.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 24, 2007 10:37 AM
Comments for this post are closed.