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Cablegate: Finland to Offer Humanitarian Assistance to Burma

VZCZCXRO9706
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHDT RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHPB RUEHROV
DE RUEHHE #0202 1301332
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091332Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4304
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 4890
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 0075
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0386
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0091

UNCLAS HELSINKI 000202

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS AARON COPE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL BM FI
SUBJECT: FINLAND TO OFFER HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO BURMA

REF: SECSTATE 48651

1. (U) On May 8, Econoff delivered reftel demarche to Ms.
Ulla-Maija Finskas, Head of the Unit for Humanitarian
Assistance at the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA)
on the need for assistance in Burma following cyclone Nargis.
Finskas shared similar U.S. concerns that humanitarian aid
is being needlessly delayed by the Burmese regime. The
Finnish MFA has committed 300,000 euros for emergency relief,
mainly for blankets, clean water and medicine purposes.
According to Finskas, the Finnish contribution has already
been channeled through the Finnish Red Cross. On May 7, the
Finnish Red Cross directly pledged an additional 70,000 euros
for emergency rescue operations. The Finnish Lutheran Church
will also provide 200,000 euros in aid through its charity
foundation, FinnChurchAid, and it has appealed to Finns to
provide donations to its newly-launched Burma Catastrophe
Fund. Finskas said Finland is open to providing additional
humanitarian contributions once adequate assessments can be
carried out by international relief workers.

2. (SBU) The MFA's Unit for Humanitarian Assistance is
equally perplexed by the Burmese regime's refusal to grant
visas quicker to those providing vital humanitarian
assistance. Finskas said the Finnish Ambassador in Thailand,
also accredited to Burma, was finally granted a visa
following a lengthy delay and a great deal of political
posturing. Finskas said the election coinciding with this
disaster is making the suspicious Burmese regime almost
paranoid in refusing to grant ready access to international
relief teams, especially from the United States.
HYATT

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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