Sarkozy Outshines Obama In MidEast Mediation

On 6 May 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy became the sixth person to be elected President of the Fifth and the 23rd president in French history. He is the first French president to have been born after World War II. Shortly after taking office, Sarkozy began negotiations with Colombian president Álvaro Uribe and the left-wing guerrilla FARC, regarding the release of hostages held by the rebel group, especially Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.

In the two years since Nicolas Sarkozye became the French president he has launched a ‘Union for the Mediterranean’, pushed France to the forefront of international mediation in Syria, taken Europe’s most aggressive stance towards Iran, made friends with Israel, officially joined NATO in Afghanistan, and most recently flown to Saudi Arabia to convince the royals to support a Middle East peace conference in Paris. On 8 June 2007, during the 33rd G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Sarkozy set a goal of reducing French CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2050 in order to prevent global warming. Sarkozy’s Middle Eastern diplomacy is seen by the region’s pundits and politicians alike in stark contrast to the approach of the U.S. president, claiming him with “diplomatic activism”.

On January 5, 2009, Sarkozy called for a ceasefire plan for the Gaza Strip Conflict. The plan, which was jointly proposed by Sarkozy and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak envisions the continuation of the delivery of aid to Gaza and talks with Israel on border security, a key issue for Israel as it says Hamas smuggles its rockets into Gaza through the Egyptian border. Sarkozy approach towards Iran is more pro-Israel and more severe in his criticism. France is less moved by dependence on Arab oil than other European countries, like the Scandinavian countries, Spain and Greece. Sarkozy continually say that should the international community be unable to restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israel will strike militarily. This gives credence to the Israeli threat, which remains on the table, voicing the Israeli military threat much more vigorously than other European states, such as Germany. He also has a large Muslim minority in France, this is all a sort of diplomatic activism which Sarkozy believes will give him international clout.

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