N79969
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French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 4:31 am

This is simply unbelievable. France is threatening to veto the a move to lift sanctions on Libya unless victims of the UTA disaster get more money. The trouble is that France already settled and tried to have sanctions lifted.

Having seen what the US and UK did, they are piggybacking on this agreement and holding the deal hostage. They had their chance and blew it.

Chirac and Villepin are a disgrace.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/politics/politics-lockerbie-france-usa.html
 
Schoenorama
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 4:50 am

I think you should read the article more carefully. First it says:

"They have threatened to veto unless Libya pays more money (for the UTA victims), said the U.S. official, who asked not to be named."

Then it says:

"A French foreign ministry statement said France wanted more compensation for families of the 170 victims of the mid-air bombing UTA Flight 772 over Niger in 1989 before agreeing to U.N. sanctions being lifted in a deal over the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing.

The French foreign ministry did not say whether France would go as far as to veto a U.N. vote to end sanctions against Tripoli, as it has been urged to do by a group representing families of the UTA victims."
Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!
 
N79969
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 4:53 am

I read it carefully. The veto is on the table apparently otherwise there would have been no issue and no newstory. I'm not sure why the anonymity of the source has any relevance. Apparently Colin Powell is dicussing the matter with Villepin which vindicates the source whoever he or she may be.

Before the US and UK reached a deal, the French were arguing for the sanctions to be lifted. But changed their minds seeing the US-UK as an opportunity to get out of their own poorly negotiated settlement.

Another reason why France should be replaced on the Security Council.

Here is a another link

http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/08/14/un.lockerbie/index.html

[Edited 2003-08-14 21:57:06]

[Edited 2003-08-14 21:58:22]
 
donder10
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 4:58 am

Schoenorama,
this is the game of diplomacy where threats are made implicitly and all diplomats understand the language.It does appear that France is seriously considering such a veto 'reading between the lines'.Although a lot more subtle than their last threat.
 
Sabena 690
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 5:11 am

Look, Donder10 is right when he says that France will only use the word 'veto' when they want to put pressure.

But what the hell, N79969, 'put France out of the security council', OK in your hatred against France, but since when do you care about the Security Council?

If America can do what it wants, with or without the permission of ANY organisation, why do you care suddenly so much about the Security Council?
 
CPH-R
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 5:13 am

Well, at least they're not bypassing the UNSC completely  Insane
 
N79969
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 5:16 am

CPH-R,

"Well, at least they're not bypassing the UNSC completely "

That is exactly what France should be doing. They should settle their dispute directly with Libya.

If they want more money from the Libyans, then they should go ask for it directly.
 
Schoenorama
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 5:28 am

N79969:

"I'm not sure why the anonymity of the source has any relevance.

I believe the anonimity of the source is very relevant! The fact that none of this information is official and hasn't even been acknowlegded by the French themselves, indicates clearly that the reason this 'info' has been released has nothing to do with just 'informing the general public'.

"Another reason why France should be replaced on the Security Council.

You're speaking complete b0llocks again. As a matter of fact, the French are doing exactly the same thing innumerous US Administrations have done over the past 30 years at the UNSC. Now that doesn't mean I agree in case the story is, or becomes, true in the next few days. But you want France removed from the UNSC just because they don't agree with the US/UK! So what's next then? Remove all Democrats from Congress because they never agree with the Republicans?

For your information, the US, not too long ago, openly stated (M. Albright) they would use their veto against lifting the sanctions even in the case Iraq complied with all UNSC resolutions. Now these sanctions were put in place to get Iraq to comply with the resolutions, so lifting them would be reasonable. I don't recall the French proposing the removal of the US from the UNSC...

Donder10:

I understand how diplomacy works. Yet I do get the impression this is yet another episode of France-bashing from certain people within this Administration.
Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!
 
N79969
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 5:41 am

"I believe the anonimity of the source is very relevant! "

Actually it is completely irrelevant. News outlets routine use anonymous sources that they judge as reliable all over the world.

Well lo and behold, now Reuters is reporting it. Saying that France made the threat "in private."

http://biz.yahoo.com/rm/030814/lockerbie_france_usa_1.html

France is interfering in a settlement that has no effect on them whatsoever. (Other than that they are now embarrassed at their incredibly poor negotiating skills) They are using their seat to get more money out of Libya since they now realize that they did such a poor job negotiating with them

I think France should be replaced with a responsible country rather than one that seems to indulge in grandstanding. There is a long list of countries (many of them that oppose US policy) that fit the bill. Thomas Friedman recommended India in one his columns. The certainly are not 'yes' men to this country but they don't define themselves as the counterbalance to the 'hyperpower' either.

[Edited 2003-08-14 22:56:01]

[Edited 2003-08-14 23:00:38]
 
keesje
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 6:48 am

if they didn´t do they would probably be called weasels in this thread ...
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
donder10
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 7:35 am

Perhaps another issue is the method of payment to the victims:2.5 million for the removal of UN sanctions,2.5million more for the removal of US sanctions and 1.25 million for the removal of Libya from the list of terrorist-sponsoring states.
This could clearly irk the French a tad.
 
CX747
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 10:35 am

Funny how certain folks attack their own country but defend others. I will never understand some of these characters. They truly should be ashamed of themselves. Yet again, the post is drawn up pretty much on "party" lines.

France is more or less looking for a larger handout. It negotiated poorly with the Libians and is not suffering from embarrasment because the U.S. and U.K. did a better job. Yet again another desperate struggle by France to prove it has muscle on the world scene. Your opinion really didn't matter last time, what do you think has changed? As for removing the French from the Security Council, I second that motion. Could an alterior motive be that Libya is going to order Boeing's instead of Airbus's now that they have tried to patch up their relationship with the U.S.?
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
Qb001
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 11:14 am

Why don't we wait and see what is the French government version about this before this thread becomes another battlefield, eh?

I've just looked up major French newspaper websites and, so far, they only posted articles from press agencies that pretty much reflect what N79969 posted in the first place. So we have no official French statement yet.

Again, let's wait and see, okay?
Never let the facts get in the way of a good theory.
 
Alpha 1
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 11:39 am

At least France is threatening blackmail, as it were. The U.S. didn't even do that over Iraq-we just threw out the UN and went in there.  Big grin
 
N79969
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 1:11 pm

I don't think France is looking for a handout per se. Had they waited and coordinated with the US and UK on how to get a better settlement for their people, I would not have a problem of any kind. The French government is obligated to look out for it citizens' interests.

But it didn't adequately do so in the first place and now is holding US and UK efforts to help their own citizens hostage to compensate for their gross ineptitude in negotiating with Libya in the first place. This sickens me and reminds me why I dislike the French government (all of them) with such fervor.

I sense that the French will eventually back down on this one. They would be stupid not to do so.

Alpha 1,

Get over your partisan complex. The US ignored the UN because of absolutely ridiculous behavior by France. A UNSC with France on board is frankly not worth listening to.

[Edited 2003-08-15 06:14:49]
 
Guest

RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 6:49 pm

N79969 wrote:

"I think France should be replaced with a responsible country rather than one that seems to indulge in grandstanding. There is a long list of countries (many of them that oppose US policy) that fit the bill. Thomas Friedman recommended India in one his columns."

Even if we buy your notion that France should be replaced on the Security Council, do realize that Europe would probably not like the body to be left without a EU-member nation from the Continent, so India is pretty much out of the question as a replacement. And besides, how is India, with its constant cold war against Pakistan, a "more responsible" nation than France?

[Edited 2003-08-15 11:56:32]
 
Sabena 690
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:26 pm

N79969, you still didn't answer my question:

If America can do what it wants, with or without the permission of ANY organisation, why do you care suddenly so much about the Security Council?
 
N79969
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:54 pm

PHX-LJU,

I did not suggest that India be put on the UNSC. Thomas Friedman did. Rather I was pointing it out as an example of a country that could fit the bill. There are a number of candidates. Germany would also fit. Perhaps Brazil.
 
777236ER
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:59 pm

I wonder how much money the victims of the Iranian A300 got from the US when it was shot down. At lease Libya is offered compensation.

Before the US gets on it's high horse about this, maybe it should look at it's own past. Are you honestly saying the US has never used its veto?

[Edited 2003-08-15 15:01:18]
Your bone's got a little machine
 
N79969
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 10:00 pm

777236ER,

That was a remarkably poor and wholly irrelevant analogy.

But since you raised the issue or Iran Air, why not look it up and post it?
 
777236ER
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 10:13 pm

While it's not directly relevant, it's an interesting point.

The US gets annoyed when France threatens to use it's veto on a "petty" issue over compensation for plane crash victims...yet when the US admits (and it did admit - eventually) to shooting down an A300 accidently, there's no compensation. Was there even an apology?

This is just another example of the outrageous double standards exhibited by the US.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
FDXmech
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 10:40 pm

>>>The US gets annoyed when France threatens to use it's veto on a "petty" issue over compensation for plane crash victims...yet when the US admits (and it did admit - eventually) to shooting down an A300 accidently, there's no compensation. Was there even an apology?

This is just another example of the outrageous double standards exhibited by the US.
<<<
__________________________________________________________________

Date: Thu, 22 Feb 1996 19:11:34 -0800 (PST)

WASHINGTON (Reuter) - The United States agreed with Iran
Thursday to pay up to $300,000 to families of each of the
Iranian passengers of an Iran Air airliner shot down by a U.S.
warship in 1988, the State Department announced.
The department said that in a settlement totaling $131.8
million, the two deeply hostile countries also resolved a series
of banking disputes stemming from the American hostage crisis in
Tehran, which ended in 1981.

You're only as good as your last departure.
 
N79969
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 10:57 pm

I was just about to post that same information. Iran's negotiators are far more shrewd than French negotiators. France settled for about $3,000 per victim with Libya. That is a travesty. The French officials who made that deal are criminally incompetent. Iran got 50 to 100-times the amount per person.
 
777236ER
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Fri Aug 15, 2003 11:22 pm

Well I was wrong! First for everything I suppose.

Annnnnyway, France-bashing for the sake of it is as pointless as America-bashing. Just because France use of its veto for stupid matters doesn't mean it should be kicked out of the security council - America often does the same.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
Qb001
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 12:04 am

Just read the editorial in "Le Monde" newspaper (which is, to France, the equivalent of the New-York Times).

The origin of the $3000 to $30000 settlement to the families of the UTA flight victims is that the UN at the time (including the US and the UK) was looking for a criminal procedure against Khadafi. Which is why France didn't push for a better deal.

It seems that the US and the UK have decided to trade the criminal procedures against money. In other words, the US/UK have allowed Khadafi to buy his way out of criminal responsibilities.

France is now simply saying:"Since you guys (US/UK) have changed your position on this issue without letting us know, then we'll change our position as well and we want our fair share of the deal".

Make sense to me.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good theory.
 
N79969
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 12:24 am

I read a machine-translated version of the article. The bottom line remains that France settled and now wants to retroactively change it simply because the US and UK did a better job at it. Had the US and UK not managed to reach that agreement, France would not bother trying to help its victims. The deal that the US and UK negotiated does not make the French worse off in anyway.


 
BarfBag
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 12:27 am

And besides, how is India, with its constant cold war against Pakistan, a "more responsible" nation than France?

Gee whiz. By your argument both the US and USSR ought to have been chucked out of the UNSC in the 1950s. UNSC permanent membership is not based on who smells of roses the most, but by power and representation. As far as UNSC reorganization goes, no ones going to get evicted, without causing a hell of a messy argument.

However, its expansion certainly is worthwhile. IMO, Japan, Germany, India, South Africa and Brazil should all be permanent members. They're all established or rising economic powers, and their addition provides more representation to the UN. There'll be the strange situation of neighbours France & Germany both being permanent members, which could be removed by, say having the incumbent EU president represent EU as the permanent member.

In any case, reorganization of the UNSC is a question against which there are powerful vested interests, and I see nothing happening in the near future. IMO, I'd much rather India didn't waste its time stating its suitability to be a UNSC member but instead enhanced its role and clout within the WTO, an eminently more useful multilateral body than a talk shop like UN.
 
Guest

RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 1:04 am

BarfBag wrote:

"Gee whiz. By your argument both the US and USSR ought to have been chucked out of the UNSC in the 1950s."


No, no; I'm not saying that India shouldn't become a member of the Security Council. I was simply responding to the silly argument that France should be replaced by India because France isn't "responsible" enough. I simply don't see how India is "responsible" and France isn't. Other than that, I agree that the five very influential nations you mentioned (Japan, Germany, India, South Africa and Brazil) should become members of the UNSC, but only in addition to the current members.

I do love your idea of having the country currently heading the EU presidency representing the entire Union on the UNSC. That is the only scenario I can imagine in which France would cease to be a permanent member (and even that is unlikely).
 
Qb001
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 1:49 am

N79969,

You just don't get it.

It's the US/UK who traded the original decision (looking to prosecute Khadafi) for money.

It's not at all a case where France mismanaged the deal, it's about US/UK flip-flopping on this without letting France know about it. US/UK betrayed France.

France refuses to be placed in front of this "fait accompli" and is now saying it wants to be part of the deal too.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good theory.
 
BarfBag
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:03 am

I was simply responding to the silly argument that France should be replaced by India because France isn't "responsible" enough.

Perhaps 'irresponsible' is too strong a word. However France frequently does (at least IMO) take a position against U.S. for what appears to be just the sake of taking a position against U.S. . I'm sure people will vehemently oppose this as well, but I think there's a degree of truth in it; France's actions do at times betray a desire to assert their own independent line, at the cost of appearing ridiculous AND pissing off others. There's a difference between legitimate criticism and obstructionism/filibustering. Tom Friedman's suggestion about India replacing France was based on that premise.
 
N79969
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:12 am

Qb001,

Despite your Francophile-inspired prejudice, I comprehend this just as well as you do. France could have waited things out and participated with the US and UK by coordinating policy. However, they went out alone and struck a deal with Libya which they seemed happy with until the US and UK bettered them. The French exception lives.

The US and UK have been working on this matter for years. That has been well-publicized and was far from "secret." It's not the nature of the deal that bugs France- far from it. It is simply that the US and UK were able to get more money. The French are more than willing to "flip-flop" so long as they get paid.

There is a betrayal here. The French government betrayed the vicitims of the UTA attack by settling for such a low amount. Now they want to correct their mistake while holding the US/UK settlement hostage. They should resolve this bilaterally with Libya if they want more money out of them.

The French have no standing here. Had they not struck a deal and accepted payment already, they would have a point.





[Edited 2003-08-15 19:16:19]
 
Qb001
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:30 am

N79969,

I am francophile and it's not a prejudice, it's an advantage as it allows me, unlike you, to get French information first hand.

And I persist: you just don't get it.

France settlement was minimal because France, according to a deal settled with the US/UK a few years ago, was looking to prosecute Khadafi. US/UK have betrayed France in allowing Khadafi to buy his way out of this prosecution.

France is simply saying:"Okay guys, you don't respect your share of the deal, then what's good for you is good for us too".

Can't blame them.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good theory.
 
N79969
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 3:00 am

Qb001,

My retort: your like/love of France blinds you. Francophilia comes with a full set of sniffy prejudices from what I have observed. I assure you that we non-Francophiles 'get' as much as anyone else.

France made a choice and does not want to live with it. I repeat they could have elected to join the US/UK or gone their own way. They apparently chose the latter. No one told France, "Settle now or never." No one held a gun to their head to settle.

I don't know why France acceded to that settlement knowing well that US and UK still had an axe to grind. Perhaps in their zeal (and policy) to be the world's western "un-American", they wanted to differentiate themselves in the eyes of Libya and the Arab world in order to enjoy the adulation they receive when they are perceived to be standing up to America. The price: a low and inconspicous settlement for their victims.

Can, will, and do blame them.

 
Qb001
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 3:18 am

N79969,

I don't know what to say. It's as if you don't read what I write.

France did team up with the US/UK. It's them (US/UK) who broke the deal. France simply is trying to get even with the US/UK.

Can't blame them.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good theory.
 
Schoenorama
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 5:26 am

What is really a bit weird is that 3 countries, 2 of which are members of the UNSC, agree on a deal to lift UNSC sanctions when these 2 countries alone do not have the authority nor the power to do so.

I find it equally 'weird' that apparently the US is willing to take Libya of the list of terrorism sponsoring countries, in case they pay.
Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!
 
N79969
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 5:44 am

Qb001,

I am also at a loss on how better to explain what has occured. But I think that France betrayed its own people for reasons I do not know.

Schoenorama,

You mischaraterize what is happening. The quid pro quo you describe is non-existent. It is not 'Libya pays to get their name removed.' Far from it. Libya will have to actually quit sponsoring terrorism in order to be removed from the list.

http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/08/15/lockerbie.delay/index.html

I think France will wisely save themselves from this battle.
 
Schoenorama
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 7:16 am

N79969:

"But I think that France betrayed its own people for reasons I do not know."

I don't know where France betrayed their own people. First, when France tried to settle the UTA attack, it did not use the UNSC nor UN imposed sanctions to pressure Tripoli. Second, as QB001 pointed out above, France wanted to prosecute Khadafi instead of just having him 'take the blame' formally and pay the relatives.

From the different articles you've been so kind to link above, I understand that to the victims' relatives, although the monetary compensation is important, many believe Khadafi is directly responsable for the death of their loved-ones.

Honestly, I believe France has done anything but betray their own people as they went after Khadafi and not after the money.

" Libya will have to actually quit sponsoring terrorism in order to be removed from the list."

Of course they will have actually stop sponsoring terrorism! But the lifting of the US sanctions (list of terrorism sponsoring states) is also linked with the payment to the relatives.

Don't you think it's a bit ironic: here we have Mr Khadafi, who has a very long record of sponsoring terrorism and who's ultimate responsability in the Lockerbie terrorist attack is unquestionable, and the US will let him get away by paying the relatives!

And you blame France of betraying their people?
Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!
 
N79969
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RE: French Extortion At The UN

Sat Aug 16, 2003 8:16 am

Schoenorama,

Are you suggesting regime change in Libya?

I really think the French government shortchanged their people by agreeing to those very low amounts.

I am aware that many victims' family want Gaddafi dead. I cannot blame them.

The French actually lobbied to end the UN sanctions after they got their paltry settlement. In that case, France got paid and in exchange tried to lift sanctions. They lost interest in prosecuting him before we did. They did not even get an admission of guilt.

So yes, I do blame France for incompetent negotiation on their peoples' behalf, abuse of their UN seat, and for what seems to be an even more reprehensible deal than we are making with Gaddafi.

They changed their position after the US and UK reached their agreement.

The removal and payments are linked insofar as they are part of the same global agreement. It is not payment for removal from the list.



[Edited 2003-08-16 01:29:03]

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