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Cablegate: Finnish President Halonen's June 7

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HELSINKI 002613

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/09/10
TAGS: PREL FI FI EUN RUPREL EUN RU
SUBJECT: FINNISH PRESIDENT HALONEN'S JUNE 7
MEETING WITH RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR EDELMAN REASONS 1.5
(B AND D)

-------
SUMMARY
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HELSIN 02613 01 OF 02 121416Z
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1. (C) FINNISH PRESIDENT TARJA HALONEN TRAVELED TO
MOSCOW JUNE 7 FOR THE FINLAND-RUSSIA SUMMIT AND HER
FIRST OFFICIAL MEETING WITH PRESIDENT PUTIN. THE MAIN
PURPOSE OF THE MEETING WAS TO PROVIDE THE LEADERS AN
OPPORTUNITY TO SIZE EACH OTHER UP. OVERALL THE FINNS
WERE IMPRESSED WITH PUTIN'S GRASP OF THE ISSUES, AND
(AT LEAST ACCORDING TO FINNISH OFFICIALS) THE RUSSIANS
WITH FINLAND'S FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT. HALONEN
DELIVERED THE FIRM MESSAGE TO PUTIN THAT MANY OF
RUSSIA'S POLICIES, FOR EXAMPLE IN CHECHNYA AND SERBIA,
WERE INCONSISTENT WITH FUNDAMENTAL DEMOCRATIC AND HUMAN
RIGHTS PRINCIPLES SHARED BY THE TRANSATLANTIC COMMUNITY
TO WHICH RUSSIA ASPIRED.

2. (C) HALONEN ALSO HIGHLIGHTED THE IMPORTANCE TO THE
EU-RUSSIA RELATIONSHIP OF THE IMMINENT EU MEMBERSHIP OF
ESTONIA, LATVIA, AND LITHUANIA AND THE SUBSEQUENT
LENGTHENING OF THE RUSSIA-EU BORDER. PUTIN LAUNCHED
INTO AN ATTACK ON THE BALTICS AND THEIR TREATMENT OF
THE RUSSIAN MINORITIES.

3. (C) ACCORDING TO FINNISH OFFICIALS WHO ACCOMPANIED
PRESIDENT HALONEN, RUSSIAN VIEWS OF THE JUST-ENDED
U.S.-RUSSIA SUMMIT TRACKED WITH WHAT THEY HAD HEARD
FROM US. FM IVANOV SEEMED UPBEAT ABOUT THE SUMMIT, BUT
PUTIN APPEARED CONTENTIOUS AND SAID THAT A U.S.
DECISION TO GO FORWARD WITH NMD WOULD UNLEASH AN ARMS
RACE. END SUMMARY

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HELSIN 02613 01 OF 02 121416Z
4. (C) IN ACCORD WITH THE AGREEMENT POTUS AND PRESIDENT
HALONEN MADE DURING HALONEN'S RECENT VISIT TO
WASHINGTON, HALONEN'S CHIEF OF STAFF JAAKKO KALELA GAVE
AMBASSADOR EDELMAN A QUICK READ-OUT OF THE HALONEN-
PUTIN SUMMIT IN MOSCOW ON JUNE 7. MFA DEPUTY DIRECTOR
GENERAL FOR RUSSIA AND NIS RENE NYBERG ELABORATED ON
THE VISIT JUNE 9, SHARING WITH US BOTH THE GOF'S
REPORT TO OTHER EU MEMBERS (VIA COREU) AND A MORE
DETAILED, INTERNAL GOF REPORT (PLEASE PROTECT).

---------------------------------------------
RUSSIA'S POLICIES AT ODDS WITH WESTERN VALUES
---------------------------------------------

5. (C) PUTIN WAS VERY MUCH INTERESTED IN TAKING THE
MEASURE OF HALONEN. THEIR DISCUSSION CENTERED ON
CHECHNYA, KOSOVO/SERBIA, AND IRAQ. HALONEN STRESSED
THAT RUSSIAN POLICY IN ALL THESE AREAS PUT THEM AT ODDS
WITH BASIC EU PRINCIPLES. REFLECTINQ THEIR TRAINING AS
LAWYERS, AT TIMES THE BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN THE TWO
GAVE THE APPEARANCE OF TWO ATTORNEYS PLEADING THE CASE
FOR THEIR CLIENTS. KALELA SAID THIS WAS NOT A
DISCUSSION OF "FACTS BUT VALUES." ACCORDING TO KALELA
(WHO HAS BEEN CHIEF OF STAFF TO THE LAST THREE FINNISH
PRESIDENTS) HALONEN HELD HER OWN WITH PUTIN WHO, AT ONE
POINT, EXCLAIMED "YOU ARE A VERY DANGEROUS WOMAN."
NYBERG CONFIRMED THAT HALONEN MADE THE SAME GENERAL
IMPRESSION ON THE OTHER RUSSIAN OFFICIALS PARTICIPATING
IN THE PLENARY SESSION.

--------------------------------------------- -------
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HELSIN 02613 01 OF 02 121416Z
PUTIN'S RUDE WARNING TO FINNS: DON'T DISCUSS KARELIA
--------------------------------------------- -------

6. (C) PUTIN RAISED THE ISSUE OF THE TERRITORY FINLAND
WAS FORCED TO CEDE TO THE SOVIET UNION AFTER WORLD WAR
II (KARELIA) IN THE PRIVATE SESSION.

-- NOTE: THIS IS A VERY EMOTIONAL ISSUE FOR MANY
FINNS. OVER 400,000 KARELIANS LEFT THEIR HOMES IN
THE CEDED TERRITORIES AND WERE RESETTLED
THROUGHOUT FINLAND. IT REMAINS A TOPIC OF LIVELY
PUBLIC DEBATE AND EVEN PLAYED A PART IN THE RECENT
FINNISH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. END NOTE

PUTIN SAID THAT CONTINUED DISCUSSION IN FINLAND ABOUT
THE POSSIBLE RETROCESSION OF KARELIA TO FINLAND COULD
DAMAGE THE RUSSIAN-FINNISH BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP. HE
SAID THAT IN HIS PERSONAL OPINION, STALIN HAD MADE A
MISTAKE BY INVADING FINLAND DURING THE WINTER WAR.
"RUSSIA HAD ENOUGH TERRITORY AND DIDN'T NEED MORE TO
DEFEND ITSELF." BUT NONETHELESS, IN HIS VIEW, WHAT WAS
DONE WAS DONE AND THE TERRITORIAL BORDER BETWEEN
FINLAND AND RUSSIA COULD NOT NOW BE UNDONE. HE
EXPLICITLY LINKED THE STATUS OF KARELIA TO THE
SITUATION OF THE JAPANESE NORTHERN TERRITORIES AND
ADDUCED THAT DISPUTE AS THE MAIN REASON WHY RUSSIA

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ1445

PAGE 01 HELSIN 02613 02 OF 02 121416Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 SMEC-00 INL-01
DODE-00 DOEE-00 ANHR-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EAP-00 FBIE-00
VC-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 LAB-01 L-00
MCO-01 VCE-00 MOFM-04 MOF-03 M-00 AC-01 DCP-01
NRRC-00 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OMB-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00
ACE-00 P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 TRSE-00
T-00 USIE-00 SA-00 R-00 SNIS-00 NISC-00 PMB-00
DSCC-00 PRM-01 DRL-02 G-00 SAS-00 SWCI-00 /017W
------------------61C8AD 121417Z /38
O 121359Z JUN 00
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1970
INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY TOKYO

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HELSINKI 002613

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/09/10
TAGS: PREL FI FI EUN RUPREL EUN RU
SUBJECT: FINNISH PRESIDENT HALONEN'S JUNE 7
MEETING WITH RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN

COULD NOT NOW LOOK AT ANY ADJUSTMENT WITH FINLAND.

7. (C) HALONEN SAID THAT HER POSITION ON THE ISSUE WAS
CLEAR: SHE DID NOT ADVOCATE REOPENINQ THE KARELIA
QUESTION. FINNISH VOTERS KNEW THAT WHEN THEY ELECTED
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HELSIN 02613 02 OF 02 121416Z
HER. STILL, SHE COULD NOT PREVENT OTHER FINNS FROM
EXPRESSING THEIR VIEWS. PUTIN SAID HE HAD NO INTENTION
OF RAISING THE ISSUE IN PUBLIC. IN THE EVENT, IT WAS
THE ONE QUESTION THAT THE FINNISH PRESS RAISED DURING
THE PRESIDENTS' JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE. PUTIN, WHO WAS
SURPRISED, PERHAPS EVEN SHOCKED, BY THE QUESTION, GAVE
A RESPONSE WHICH KALELA CHARACTERIZED AS "QUITE TOUGH,
EVEN BRUTAL." (THE FINNISH PRESS REPORTED THAT PUTIN
SAID RELATIONS BETWEEN RUSSIA AND FINLAND HAD BEEN
QUITE GOOD FOR THE LAST TEN YEARS BUT THAT A DISCUSSION
OF KARELIA COULD "DESTROY" THOSE GOOD RELATIONS.)

--------------------------------------------- -------
HALONEN DISMISSES PUTIN'S JUSTIFICATION FOR FORCE IN
CHECHNYA
--------------------------------------------- --------

8. (C) PUTIN REPEATEDLY BROUGHT THE CONVERSATION BACK
TO CHECHNYA, ARGUING THAT "YOU FINNS DEFENDED
YOURSELVES DURING THE WINTER WAR. WHY DON'T WE
RUSSIANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEFEND OURSELVES AGAINST
TERRORISM IN CHECHNYA?" HALONEN'S RESPONSE WAS VERY
DIRECT. "I JUST DON'T BUY THAT LINE OF ARGUMENT," SHE
REPORTEDLY TOLD PUTIN.

---------------------------------
PUTIN CRUDELY ATTACKS THE BALTICS
---------------------------------
9. (C) ACCORDING TO NYBERG, PUTIN ATTACKED THE BALTICS,
DRAWING ON FAR-FETCHED CLAIMS AND OUTRIGHT LIES. PUTIN
SAID THAT THE ESTONIANS "WERE STILL MAKING TERRITORIAL
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HELSIN 02613 02 OF 02 121416Z
CLAIMS AGAINST RUSSIA." HE ACCUSED THE BALTICS OF
BLATANT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE RUSSIAN SPEAKING
MINORITIES. PUTIN ASKED, "DOES IT MAKE SENSE FOR THE
BALTICS TO DRIVE OUT THE RUSSIAN POPULATION ONLY TO
MAKE ROOM (PRESUMABLY WHEN IN THE EU) FOR KURD AND
ALBANIAN REFUGEES?"

10. (C) HALONEN TOLD PUTIN THAT BOTH FINLAND AND THE EU
TAKE SERIOUSLY THE PRINCIPLE OF FAIR TREATMENT FOR
MINORITIES, ESPECIALLY IN EU COUNTRIES AND PROSPECTIVE
EU MEMBERS. TO UNDERLINE THIS, SHE ALLUDED TO THE
SERIOUSNESS WITH WHICH THE EU-14 HAD VIEWED THE
PARTICIPATION OF THE FREEDOM PARTY IN THE AUSTRIAN
GOVERNMENT -- AN EU MEMBER. HALONEN NOTED THAT THE
BALTICS WERE COMPLYINQ WITH OSCE RECOMMENDATIONS
REGARDINQ SOCIAL INTEGRATION AND THAT FINLAND WAS
CONTINUING TO HELP THESE COUNTRIES PREPARE FOR EU
MEMBERSHIP AND ESPECIALLY IN HELPING BUILD UP RULE OF
LAW. RESPONDING TO PUTIN'S STATEMENT ABOUT ESTONIA'S
"TERRITORIAL CLAIMS," SHE REMINDED HIM THAT ALREADY
DURING PRIMAKOV'S TENURE, PRIMAKOV HAD ASKED HER AS
THEN FOREIQN MINISTER TO FACILITATE THE TALKS ON A
BORDER TREATY BETWEEN ESTONIA AND RUSSIA.

----------------------
PUTIN POLEMICAL ON NMO
----------------------

11. (C) KALELA SAID THAT DURINQ THE KREMLIN DINNER HE
SAT NEXT TO FM IVANOV, WHO BRIEFED HIM ON THE CLINTON-
PUTIN SUMMIT IN ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME TERMS THAT THE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HELSIN 02613 02 OF 02 121416Z
AMBASSADOR HAD BRIEFED KALELA AND VALTASAARI BEFORE
THEIR TRIP TO MOSCOW. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE HAD BEEN
THAT IVANOV WAS VERY UPBEAT AND OPTIMISTIC, RATHER THAN
STRICTLY FACTUAL IN HIS BRIEFING. PUTIN'S CONVERSATION
WITH HALONEN ON THE SUBJECT AT DINNER WAS SLIGHTLY MORE
"POLEMICAL." IN DISCUSSING NMO HE HAD TAKEN AN ALMOST
THREATENING TONE, SAYING THAT AN AMERICAN DEPLOYMENT
COULD CAUSE A "NEW ARMS RACE." HE HAD NONETHELESS
EXPRESSED HIS SATISFACTION WITH THE SUMMIT MEETING WITH
POTUS AND SAID HIS RELATIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT WERE
"QUITE GOOD."

----------------------------------
PUTIN'S GRASP OF ISSUES IMPRESSIVE
----------------------------------

12. (C) ALL OF THE FINNS WERE QUITE IMPRESSED BY THE
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PUTIN AND YELTSIN. PUTIN WAS VERY
MUCH ON TOP OF HIS BRIEF. HE SPOKE FLUENTLY AND
LUCIDLY WITHOUT ANY NOTES. STATE SECRETARY VALTASAARI
NOTED THAT PUTIN WAS ABLE TO NAME ALL 26 FINNISH-
RUSSIAN BORDER CROSSINQS (INCLUDINQ THE 4 UNDER
CONSTRUCTION) WHICH EVEN THE FINNS COULD NOT HAVE DONE
WITHOUT NOTES.

EDELMAN

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