After the welcome given by French authorities to Ingrid Betancourt, French diplomacyis finalizing preparations for the celebration in Paris of the 'Summit' of Heads of Stateand Government called to consecrate one of the most ambitious projects of thePresident Nicolás Sarkozy, the Mediterranean Union.
The coming of the new institution will be attended by the Presidents of the EuropeanCommission and the International Monetary Fund, the General Secretary of the ArabLeague and the Organization for African Unity, the President of the European Bank ofinvestment and a host of dignitaries from non-EU countries, except for the Pharaonicdesigned party witnesses to inaugurate the half of the French Presidency of theEuropean Union.
Guests of the Elysée also include Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, whose intelligenceservices were accused by the French of having sponsored the attack on the LebanesePrime Minister, Rafik Hariri. In fact, in the last months of Jacques Chirac's Presidency,Paris came to freeze its relations with Damascus, making possible normalization ofcontacts to an international trial against the murderers of the politician. However,weeks before the convening of the "Summit", the position of the French authoritieshas undergone a dramatic shift.
The announcement of the presence of caused some unease in Israel, whose leadersseek by all means to postpone the granting of the "patent of Democrat" to SyrianPresident Al-Assad in Paris. And this, despite the peace negotiations carried outrecently through Turkish and Swiss emissaries. Or perhaps, as a result of theseconsultations. For its part, the French estimate that the "opening" toward Syria couldfacilitate the desired landing of French diplomacy in the Middle East, a regioncontrolled from more than three years by the American friend.
The presence of Bashar Al-Assad in the gala capital contrasts criticism made by otherstatesmen of the Eastern basin of the Mediterranean, such as the Libyan Gaddafi orAlgerian Bouteflika, who doubt the altruistic intentions of France. Indeed, the meremade of wanting to replace the inoperative, although not obsolete process ofBarcelona by the... Spirit of Paris, caused misgivings both in Brussels and in someMediterranean capitals. Proposal primitive of Sarkozy, who sought to turn away non-Mediterranean Union new EU countries, provoked the ire of Chancellor Angela MerkelGerman, who was on the verge of veto the French initiative, recalling that Germanywas committed to fund with the Euro-Mediterranean partnership project. Finally,Sarkozy was forced to accept the presence of "27" on the structure of the Union. Todispel any doubts about the "fatherhood" and the legality of the process, theCommission of the European Union agreed to use the euphemism "Barcelona process– Union Mediterranean". In this way, Spain retained its initial role, while France isaimed the goal of the initiative.