[The Guardian Unlimited, U.K.]



Le Figaro, France

Obama 'Disarmament Lesson' Annoys French Officials


"Paris is annoyed at the worldwide enthusiasm unleashed by President Obama's speech on disarmament … it is feared that the effect of the extremely flattering image obtained by the new president reinforces the perception of a France that clings to its nuclear weapons."


By Alain Barluet


Translated By L. McKenzie Zeiss


April 10, 2009


France - Le Figaro - Original Article (French)


President Obama speaks at Hradcany Square in Prague, April 5, calling for an end to nuclear weapons.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Barack Obama outlines his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons, in a major speech in the Czech Republic capital, Prague, Apr. 5, 00:01:59RealVideo

EXCLUSIVE: A memo intended for Nicolas Sarkozy minimizes the impact of the speech in Prague given by the American president last Sunday.


Paris is annoyed at the worldwide enthusiasm unleashed by the speech on disarmament given in Prague last Sunday by Barack Obama [Watch Below]. Certainly, the initiatives he announced were officially saluted in a communiqué from the Quai d’Orsay [France's Foreign Ministry]. At the Elysée, the propositions of the American president on the elimination of nuclear arms were deemed "100 percent positive."


But at the same time, it is feared that the effect of the extremely flattering image obtained by the new head of the White House by praising total denuclearization ("Global Zero") reinforces the perception of a France that clings to its nuclear weapons. Paris, in any case, doesn't intend to "take lessons from the Americans" on the matter of disarmament, a process to which they [members of the French government] believe themselves to have contributed greatly. 



Introducing a flat note into the prevailing Obamania, the Elysée's diplomatic core has just produced a memo on Nicolas Sarkozy’s intent to minimize the impact and unprecedented nature of his speech in Prague in quite abrasive terms. "This is in the form of a declaration. This isn't a question of a speech on American security policy, but of an export intended primarily to improve the image of the United States," according to the analysis of someone in Nicolas Sarkozy’s entourage. "Let us leave theology for later and work seriously toward disarmament," the same source declared.


President Obama speaks in Prague's Hradcany Square, Czech

Republic. The president called for more aggressive efforts to rid

world of nuclear weapons, April 4. WATCH


According to the Elysée’s interpretation, the vision developed by Barack Obama in the Czech capitol of "a world without nuclear weapons" in fact masks Washington's delays in the "gigantic and financially very costly" field of disarmament. Furthermore, the source pointed out, "most of these proposals reflect the policy of George Bush."




Thus, negotiations for a renewal of talks on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty [START] on cutting the number of strategic weapons (around 10,000 on the American side, and the Russian side as well) are stuck in neutral, even if the meeting between Barack Obama and [Russian President] Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the G20 in London permits hope for a revival of discussions.  




Financial Times Deutschland, Germany: 'Prague Spring … Pyongyang Frost'

Die Welt, Germany: Obama's 'Erroneous' Comments on Nukes

Gazeta, Russia: Obama and Medvedev: Good Mood Music that Skirted the Central Issues

Le Figaro, France: President Obama: 'What a Change for the Alliance!'

Der Spiegel, Germany: 'Yankee Bombs Go Home': Foreign Minister Wants U.S. Nukes Off German Soil


The same relativism holds for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), signed by Washington but rejected for ratification by the American Senate. France, for its part, renounced nuclear testing in 1998. "It is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned," said Barack Obama before the audience in Prague. "Thank you very much," huffed the Elysée, "but in this case, it's the United States causing the problem." On a third key question - halting production of fissile material - "George Bush had already tabled a draft treaty with the Conference on Disarmament," says a counselor at the Elysée. Such production sites still exist, particularly in the United States and China, even while Paris is looking to dismantle its own plants in Marcoule and Pierrelatte.  


President Barack Obama speaks with French President Nicolas

Sarkozy at the NATO Summit on Apr. 3. It looks like President

Obama has more persuading to do on the issue of disarmament.


The American president’s call to "consolidate" the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is the next to be reviewed, also leaves the French leadership cold. "The reinforcement of inspections and the creation of an international nuclear fuel bank are ideas brought up a long time ago," the Elysée commented. In his speech, the American president asks for "real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules." Such rules already exist, objects one expert on the issue. "Already in 2004, at the time of the G8 summit at Sea Island [Georgia], the decision was made to suspend cooperation with countries that violate their commitments," notes one such expert.


The last component brought up by Barack Obama concerns the struggle against nuclear terrorism. Paris doubts the American promise to "secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years." And Paris awaits, on this theme, the conference to be held next year in the United States - one of the only meetings that have been announced bearing the imprint of Barack Obama. This is one topic that he knows well, since as a senator he was personally involved - alongside Republican Richard Lugar - with securing the nuclear arsenal of the former Soviet Union.





















































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US April 13, 10:29pm]