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Cablegate: Osce Ambassador Finley Meets Chairman Kanerva In

VZCZCXRO8213
RR RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHHE #0064/01 0451300
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 141300Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4065
INFO RUCNOSC/ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HELSINKI 000064

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/14/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV RS FI
SUBJECT: OSCE AMBASSADOR FINLEY MEETS CHAIRMAN KANERVA IN
FINLAND


Classified By: POLOFF LISA CONESA FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

1. (SBU) Summary: US OSCE Ambassador Julie Finley separately
met with Finnish Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman in Office
(CiO) Ilkka Kanerva and MFA State Secretary Teija Tiilikainen
in Helsinki January 30. Kanerva expressed gratitude for the
US response to Finland's OSCE agenda presented in Vienna a
few weeks ago. Minister Kanerva outlined the challenges
facing the Finnish CiO: Russia, ODIHR, elections, Kosovo,
frozen conflicts, and the future. Tiilikainen and Harkonen
reviewed the same areas in the preceding meeting. End
Summary.

2. (U) During a one-day stop in Helsinki on January 30,
Ambassador to the OSCE Julie Finley held separate meetings
with Finnish Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman in Office
(CiO) Ilkka Kanerva and with MFA State Secretary Teija
Tiilikainen. Finley was accompanied by Ambassador Marilyn
Ware and PolOff (note taker) for the Kanerva meeting and by
DCM Amy Hyatt and PolOff for the Tiilikainen meeting. Head
of the Finnish MFA's OSCE Chairmanship Task Force (CTF)
Ambassador Aleksi Harkonen and Deputy Head of the OSCE CTF
Janne Taalas accompanied Kanerva and Tiilikainen.

Kanerva on Russia, Kosovo and ODIHR
-------------------------------------------
3. (C) Kanerva said that over the last few days, news from
ODIHR and the parliamentary assembly on efforts to gain
agreement for an effective observation mission had not been
good. Conditions appear to be hardening for Russian election
observation (March 2). The Russians will allow observers in
starting February 28, but Kanerva said it made no sense to go
3 days before the election. 70 observers with limited time
on a short observation mission is not realistic. The OSCE
sent a letter to Moscow with a constructive counter proposal
(20 observers next week, 50 the following), which would
improve the mission's chance for a reasonable observation.
Kanerva was awaiting the reply from Russian Foreign Minister
Lavrov and still hoped at the time that the response would be
positive. (Note: these negotiations eventually failed, and
ODIHR cancelled any plans to observe the Russian presidential
elections.)

4. (C) Kanerva also raised his concern that the Russian
attempt to undermine the OSCE mission in Kosovo (OMIK) could
undermine the institutional credibility of the organization
as a whole. The symbolic face of the OSCE's Human Dimension
is election monitoring, he said, but Russia's decision on
elections will have serious consequences and the OSCE needs
to unite in one voice to prevent any attempt to Undermine
ODIHR. He also noted that the Russians will "veto" a
continuing mandate for the OSCE Mission in Kosovo (OMiK)
should Pristina unilaterally declare independence. Finley
shared Kanerva's concerns, noting the importance of retaining
OMIK's presence in Kosovo.

Med Partners and Trafficking
--------------------------------------------- -
5. (C) Kanerva and Finley discussed ways to get the most out
of the OSCE's efforts with its Mediterranean partners, and to
gain the appropriate profile for OSCE work on trafficking in
persons. Finley asked Kanerva if he had given thought to
bringing in Libya and Lebanon as OSCE Med partners. She also
suggested a higher profile for TIP activities, perhaps
bringing in headline activists, would offer the opportunity
to work on a noncontroversial issue that is not fraught with
the tensions that underpin discussions of ODIHR or the
budget.


Tiilikainen on Russian Elections and ODIHR's Challenges
--------------------------------------------- ----
6. (C) Like Kanerva, Tiilikainen named the observation of the
March 2 Russian election as the first challenge for the
Finnish Chairmanship. The ODIHR has stated that it will not
participate under conditions where observation begins 3 days
prior to the election and is not realistic. OSCE/ODIHR
reconsidered the size of the observation group in response to
Russia's demands. Tiilikainen sees the ODIHR role in the
OSCE as seriously challenged by this event because it
undermines the credibility of the OSCE in Europe and the
world. Finley said we needed to keep supporting ODIHR's
autonomy, but advocated allowing the Russians to vent in open
discussion at the organization so that they feel heard and
not isolated. Tiilikainen stated that Russia is given proper
conditions and the same rules as everyone else, and
questioned the Russians' willingness to discuss.

Money, Money, Money: Ask for More, Get Less
---------------------------------------------
7. (SBU) Tiilikainen and Harkonen then turned to the budget.
Tiilikainen sought compromise on the OSCE budget. Finley

HELSINKI 00000064 002 OF 002


asked that the OSCE remember the US's previous generosity to
the organization and explained that for a number of reasons,
additional resources will not be available this year nor are
there prospects for improvements in coming years, which
argues for a roll-over for the next 3 years of the current
scale of assessments. Finley suggested approaching the
Russians for a fairer share based on their equal vote in the
organization and their need to have a voice in the only
transatlantic organization available to them. Tiilikainen
remarked that the Russian Ambassador in Vienna links
unhappiness with the current OSCE emphasis together with the
budget issue, implying that they will not part with funds if
things are not going their way. Harkonen expressed concern
that adopting a one-year roll-over of the current scales, as
suggested by the Russians, would leave the budget problem for
the Greeks to solve.

Comment
---------
8. (SBU) The Finley visit, early in the Finnish Chairmanship,
was much appreciated by the Finns and was timed well, coming
just before Kanvera's OSCE-themed trip to Washington. End
comment.

9. (U) Ambassador Finley has cleared this cable.
HYATT

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