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Cablegate: Finland: Osce Madrid Ministerial

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DE RUEHHE #0848/01 3271352
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 231352Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3925
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 0041
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0206
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 5519
RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV 0739
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 0114
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0222
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 1506
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 4846
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0714
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0127
RUEHPG/AMEMBASSY PRAGUE 0986
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0194
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 1402
RUEHVL/AMEMBASSY VILNIUS 3184
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 1870
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

C O N F I D E N T I A L HELSINKI 000848

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/2017
TAGS: OSCE PREL PGOV PHUM FI
SUBJECT: FINLAND: OSCE MADRID MINISTERIAL

REF: STATE 157672

Classified By: Polchief Greg Thome for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: With its chairmanship only five weeks away,
the GOF is realistic about the fact that few if any miracles
will emerge from the Madrid Ministerial, and that Finland
will be left to manage a range of divisive issues. Finland
is in "complete agreement" with our emphasis on maintaining
an OSCE presence on Kosovo. The GOF has set aside funds for
an OSCE Central Asia border mission, but feels that other EU
countries are not stepping up. The GOF agrees with the US
that the OSCE should do more in Afghanistan, but reaching
consensus at the Madrid Ministerial will be difficult.
Finland sees agreement on a "package" approach to the
2009-2010-2011 OSCE chairs at Madrid as urgent, because
"deal-making will only get harder" after that. Despite
Russia,s pressure, Finland will seek to keep the door open
to NGO participation, in accordance with the OSCE's 1992
Guidelines on NGO Partnership. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) PolChief delivered subject demarche to Aleksi
Harkonen, Director of the Finnish MFA's OSCE Chairmanship
Task Force, Nov. 23. With its OSCE Chairmanship only five
weeks away, Finland hopes that several of the thorniest
issues currently facing the Organization can be resolved --
or at least significantly advanced -- at the Madrid
Ministerial. However, Harkonen expressed no naivety in this
regard, fully recognizing that Finland will be in the tough
position of managing several of the most divisive issues
facing the OSCE when the GOF assumes the chairmanship on Jan.
1.

Balkans
-------
3. (C) The GOF "completely agrees" with the US views that the
OSCE must maintain a robust presence in Kosovo and that there
is no organization prepared to adequately replace OmiK.
Finland has engaged in bilateral consultations at the
Director General level with Russia and Serbia, expressing to
both the fact that it is in everyone's interest -- and
particularly the ethnic Serbs in Kosovo -- that the OSCE
remain, Harkonen reported. Neither the Russians nor the
Serbs appeared prepared to accept that argument, and Russian
FM Lavrov went so far as to suggest to Finnish FM Ilkka
Kanerva during a bilateral Nov. 16 that the OSCE would have
to withdraw if Kosovo declared unilateral independence,
Harkonen said. The GOF believes that the OSCE mission could
be reduced once the EU mission in Kosovo begins to stand up
(a point it has NOT raised with Moscow or Belgrade).
Harkonen opined that ultimately the Russians may not take too
hard a line on the OSCE in Kosovo -- Lavrov's tough talk
notwithstanding -- given that they much prefer an OSCE
presence to an EU presence.

4. (SBU) On Croatia, Harkonen said Finland supported drawing
down the OSCE presence with an eye toward ending the mission
in the second half of 2008.

Afghanistan / Central Asia
--------------------------
5. (C) Finland strongly supports an OSCE border-strengthening
mission in Central Asia and warmly welcomed the emphasis our
points placed on it. Harkonen said that Finland is so
enthusiastic that it has set aside "half a million Euros" for
the project and designated administrators and law enforcement
trainers for the job. However, he added, "we feel a little
lonely," given that very few OSCE member states --
particularly those who are also EU members -- have stepped up
with offers of funds or personnel. Harkonen was also
open-minded about an OSCE mission inside Afghanistan, but
noted that there is "likely to be no consensus on activities
inside Afghanistan." Russia remains adamant that the OSCE
should do nothing outside OSCE territory. And despite the
fact that OSCE activity in Afghanistan would make a lot of
sense, the Russian view "finds a lot of sympathy," including
throughout the EU.

OSCE Chairmanship Questions
---------------------------
6. (C) Spain's latest "Package Approach" to post-Finland OSCE
Chairmanships is now: Greece in 2009; Kazakhstan in 2010;
Lithuania in 2011. This is not an ideal approach, Harkonen
said, especially if the Package is put forward without any
caveats on Kazakhstan's behavior or reforms before 2010.
Nevertheless, Finland, for its part, sees the adoption of
some sort of Package at Madrid as urgent, given that "deal
making will only get harder" the longer the issue remains
unresolved. In addition, the longer the Kazak question is
left open, the longer Russia will use the Chairmanship
question as an excuse to keep other, unrelated issues open,
Harkonen added. For these reasons, Finland is likely to
support whatever "package" emerges in Madrid. (EMBASSY
COMMENT: We also know that the GOF absolutely does not want
to find itself in a position of having to pass judgment on
Kazakhstan's reform efforts during its presidency -- yet
another reason the GOF will likely support whatever package
emerges. END COMMENT.)

NGOs
----
7. (C) The GOF was pleased with the emphasis the US places on
keeping the door open to NGOs, and FM Kanerva has expressed a
personal commitment to ensuring maximum NGO participation in
the OSCE, Harkonen said. Kanerva raised the issue in his
recent meeting with Lavrov, assuring the Russian that the GoF
would be strictly guided by the OSCE's 1992 Guidelines on NGO
Participation, but also emphasizing that the Guidelines were
designed to include NGOs, not exclude them. This has become
a particularly delicate issue for the GOF because the
Russian-Chechnyan Friendship Society -- banned in Russia --
has now registered itself as a Finnish NGO, and the GOF fully
supports its participation in appropriate OSCE events.
WARE

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