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Cablegate: Iceland: Foreign Minister Dismisses Calls for Independent

VZCZCXRO1619
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHRK #0028 0601654
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291654Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3576
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000028

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL PTER IC
SUBJECT: ICELAND: FOREIGN MINISTER DISMISSES CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT
RENDITIONS INQUIRY

Refs: A) Copenhagen 38

B) Evans-Wheeler emails 11/29/07
C) 07 Reykjavik 313
D) Copenhagen 50

1. (SBU) Summary: Iceland's Foreign Minister flatly dismissed
opposition calls for an independent inquiry into suspected CIA
rendition flights through Iceland in a parliamentary session on
February 28. The question time discussion was spurred by Icelandic
State Television's February 25 broadcast of a Danish TV documentary
about rendition flights through Danish territory. In answering, the
FM noted that the government's stated intent to inspect suspected
rendition flights has been lauded as an example for Denmark and
other governments to follow. The FM's comments were her strongest
public statement to date that no further investigation of the issue
is necessary. End Summary.

2. (U) On February 25, Icelandic State Television (RUV) broadcast
the Danish DR1-TV documentary "CIA's Danske Forbindelse," which
alleges that CIA-operated aircraft possibly including those used in
rendition flights have repeatedly used Danish territory and airspace
(ref A). The program alleged that several flights had also stopped
off in Iceland. Opposition leader and Left-Green Party Chair
Steingrimur Sigfusson referred to the RUV broadcast in an Althingi
(parliament) question time session on February 28, asking Foreign
Minister Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir whether the documentary didn't
demonstrate both the need and the viability of an independent
investigation of whether similar flights had used Icelandic
territory for the purposes of rendition.

3. (U) Gisladottir flatly refused the Left-Green call for an
investigation, noting the work of a Ministry for Foreign Affairs
(MFA) review and pointing to the MFA's conclusion that it would be
unproductive to attempt to determine whether suspected terrorists
had actually been transported through Iceland. Should some further
evidence pointing to renditions come to light, the MFA would review
its stance, the FM noted, but as the matter currently stands the
government has focused on ensuring that such activities do not take
place in the future. Gisladottir added that DR1-TV lauded the
Icelandic government's policy of searching all suspected rendition
flights (ref B) in a subsequent program, which she hopes Iceland's
RUV will see fit to broadcast.

4. (U) Pressed further by Sigfusson, FM Gisladottir added the
caution that aircraft with tail numbers allegedly linked to the CIA
can not definitively be pronounced rendition flights: "I say
possible [rendition flights] because the aircraft numbers under
discussion could obviously be [in Iceland] in connection with other
parties or for other purposes than these."

5. (SBU) Comment: Gisladottir's response is her strongest move to
date to knock down the proposal of a further inquiry into the
renditions issue. The FM may feel her earlier moves on the issue
(refs B and C) have given her breathing room to withstand opposition
calls for further action regarding events previous to her tenure at
the MFA.

VAN VOORST

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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