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Cablegate: Finland: Pre-Gaerc Response

VZCZCXRO6024
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHHE #0093 0651308
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051308Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4111
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS HELSINKI 000093

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EUN FI
SUBJECT: FINLAND: PRE-GAERC RESPONSE

REF: STATE 22352

1. (U) PolChief discussed the GAERC talking points with
Finnish MFA EU Correspondent Leena-Kaisa Mikkola March
4.

2. (SBU) WESTERN BALKANS: Mikkola noted that several
member states insisted on a "Western Balkans" agenda
point, rather than simply a specific Kosovo point.
Some agreed that it was important to emphasize that,
following the very intensive period surrounding
Kosovo's independence, the EU needed to return to
focusing on the challenges facing the region as a
whole. Unfortunately, she added, others --
particularly those who are not part of the Kosovo ISG
or "those who are not so excited about the Ahtisaari
plan" hoped to steer the GAERC away from any
conclusions in relation to the ISG (none are
espected). A discussion of practicalities and the
challenges facing the EU Mission in Kosovo is expected.

3. (SBU) ISRAEL-PALESTINE: The GoF welcomes Secretary
Rice's trip to the region, and Mikkola noted that
HighRep Solana is in the region this week. Solana will
brief the GAERC on his trip, but conclusions are not
expected unless his report gives cause otherwise.

4. (SBU) AFGHANISTAN: Mikkola suggested that
Afghanistan was on the agenda simply because many MS
believed it had not been a focus of GAERC discussions
for some time. She noted that the Slovenian Presidency
did not seem particularly enthusiastic about including
it but honored the request. The GoF, for its part, is
the second highest contributor of trainers to the EU
police training mission, and therefore welcomes the
discussion, she said.

5. (SBU) GEORGIA: Mikkola noted that the discussion
could be quite lively, given that some member states
are aggressively pushing for the EU to rapidly enhance
its relationship with Georgia, while others strongly
prefer to keep the discussion "low profile." Finland -
- along with the Baltic MS and others -- supports more
rapid EU movement on building the relationship, to
include more movement on visa facilitation and other
people-to-people exchanges, Mikkola said.

WARE

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