A cable published by WikiLeaks in a deluge of confidential documents revealed Thursday that French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in the beginning of 2009 that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was "lost".
The cable says Kouchner told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that "Abbas is lost. You tried, we tried but nothing has happened."
"Kouchner said that he had met with Abu Mazen three days prior and found him completely isolated," the cable, which divulges the minutes of Clinton and Kouchner's meeting, says.
"The key, he said, was to figure out how to build up Abu Mazen in a government of national unity. Salam Fayyad was a fantastic PM who had ideas about how to open the Gaza crossing," The cable says, citing Kouchner.
"It was especially important, he continued, to offer the Palestinian people a sign that the crossing was open because of Abu Mazen's involvement. He had to be seen as a leader. He said it would take weeks and noted that Hamas does not want to talk to Mazen."
Clinton, on her part, stressed that the Israeli side should also be pressed into talks. "It was important to persuade the new Israeli government to participate in the peace effort and be convinced that they could work with the PA," the cable says.
"If Abu Mazen's government of national unity is to work, Israel needs to understand that it should work with him and that this development could help."
Sarkozy irks Saudis
The same cable also describes a visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Saudi Arabia. It expresses Saudi discontent with the visit, deriving from Sarkozy's unwillingness to discuss important issues like Iran as well as his refusal to taste traditional Arabic food.
The French leader visited Saudi Arabia immediately after being elected in 2008, in an effort to convince the Arab nation he was not leaning too far towards Israel.
The visit was described publicly as successful, but the cable shows Sarkozy's hosts were irked by his lack of enthusiasm for local customs, as well as the fact that his wife-to-be, Carla Bruni, neglected to show up as planned.
Roi Mandel contributed to this report
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