Despite vulgar threats threats from Peking, President Nicolas Sarkozy keeps meeting with the Dalai Lama in Poland.
From Le Figaro: Première rencontre entre Sarkozy et le dalaï-lama First meeting between Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama
(Eric Feferberg / AFP)
[...] «Il convient de ne dramatiser aucun rendez-vous. Je suis libre de mon agenda», a tranché le président de la République, avant de s'entretenir avec le leader spirituel tibétain samedi en Pologne. [...] "There's no reason to over-react about any meeting. I'm free to do as I please", so decided the president of the Republic before meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader in Poland today.°[...] C'est fait. Après des mois d'attentes, de polémiques et de menaces de Pékin, le président français Nicolas Sarkozy a rencontré le dalaï-lama, pour la première fois, samedi à Gdansk, au nord de la Pologne. L'entretien entre les deux hommes a débuté peu après 16h30 et se poursuit actuellement. Peu avant, lors d'une conférence de presse, le chef de l'Etat français avait affirmé qu'il convenait de «ne pas dramatiser» cette rencontre. [...] Done. After months of waiting, of controvery and of threats from Peking, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama met for the first time on Saturday (today) in the Polish town of Gdansk. The meeting between the two men began at around 4.30 PM and is still going on. More here.
Well, well... that will learn 'em Chinese not to go around threatening leaders of sovereign European states with whatever.
Of course, it didn't stop Chinese authorities attacking France, qualifying Sarkozy's decision to meet with the Dalai Lama as opportunistic and hasty for not only ruffling Chinese feelings but also for weakening Sino-Franco relations. Frankly, who cares!
On the other side of the pond, things are going from bad to worse. Reports have it that the US has almost reached the two million job loss mark for the year, the highest in the last 15 years. More than half a million jobs were lost for the month of November alone and still counting.
From Le Monde: Le chômage aux Etats-Unis au plus haut depuis quinze ans The highest unemployment rate in the United States in the last 15 years.
Roger Cohen writes about the "snub symbol of U.S. contempt for the rule of law."
[...] THE HAGUE: Of the many issues that have soured relations between Europe and the United States under the Bush administration, few have been as poisonous as America's refusal to join the world's first permanent war crimes court here. The snub symbol of U.S. contempt for the rule of law.°In one of his last acts, Bill Clinton signed the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court, but the signature never led to U.S. ratification. On the contrary, President Bush withdrew the signature.
.../...°The effect of U.S. rejection of the court, combined with the trashing of habeas corpus at Guantánamo Bay, has been devastating. Allies from Canada to Germany that are court members have been dismayed by the U.S. dismissal of an institution they see doing evident good.°Other smaller nations from Latin America to Africa, browbeaten by the United States on the issue, have looked elsewhere for lost military or financial support. The American idea, grounded in legal principles, has been undermined. [...] More here.
Human rights be damned? Let's hope the incoming US administration will prove to be as good as the world expects them to be.
In a surprising last-minute change of policy, the government of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan agreed Wednesday to join about 100 nations signing a treaty banning the use of cluster munitions, Afghan officials said.°The decision appeared to reflect Karzai's growing independence from the Bush administration, which has opposed the treaty and, according to a senior Afghan official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, had urged Karzai not to sign it.°