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Cablegate: Finnish Response - Demarche: U.S. Concerns About

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2017
TAGS: PARM PREL MOPS NATO NO FI
SUBJECT: FINNISH RESPONSE - DEMARCHE: U.S. CONCERNS ABOUT
OSLO CLUSTER MUNITIONS MEETING

REF: SECSTATE 20863

Classified By: POLCHIEF GREGORY THOME FOR REASONS 1.4 (A), (B), AND (D)

1. (SBU) PolChief shared the substance of subject demarche
Feb. 27 with Laura Kansikas-Debraise, Office Director of
the Unit for Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-
Proliferation. Kansikas-Debraise expressed appreciation
for the US position and re-emphasized 1) that Finland
considers cluster munitions (CM) to be a viable part of its
arsenal for national defense; 2) that the GOF agrees with
the US that the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW)
meetings remain the appropriate fora for discussion of
humanitarian and other issues related to CM; and 3) that
Finland would not support any legally binding instruments
prohibiting the use of CM.

2. (C) COMMENT: Cluster munitions have become a sensitive
topic in Finland in recent days, thanks to somewhat
sensationalist press reports alleging that Finland intends
to make a significant military acquisition of these
weapons. In response to international pressure, Finland is
currently phasing out its once-extensive use of landmines
to protect its long border with Russia. As part of a
program to bolster its land-based defensive capabilities in
the face of the pending mine phase-out, the GOF has
explored the idea of acquiring additional CM. GOF
discussions regarding the potential acquisition have not
been held in secret and have been open to public scrutiny,
Kansikas-Debraise explained, but for more than 18 months
the issue never attracted any attention. However, in
recent weeks CM have become a focus of the Nordic press --
both as a result of the Feb. 22-23 Olso conference and
because of the bad international press generated by
Israel's use of CM in Lebanon in August. The result in
Finland has been accusations that the GOF is now
substituting one internationally reviled weapon with
another. Nevertheless, the GOF will likely move forward to
acquire additional CM.
WARE

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