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Cablegate: Kfor: Finland's Caveats in Kosovo

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 HELSINKI 001025

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/03/2014
TAGS: MOPS PREL YI FI NATO
SUBJECT: KFOR: FINLAND'S CAVEATS IN KOSOVO

REF: A. STATE 162868

B. PRISTINA 951

Classified By: ACTING POL CHIEF DAVID ALLEN SCHLAEFER FOR REASONS 1.4 (
B) and (D)

1. (C) According to the Finnish Defense Forces (FDF), Finland
has the following national caveats on the use of Finnish
troops in Kosovo:

-- No use of lethal force to protect property. (This caveat
and the next do not affect the peacekeeper's right to
self-defense.)

-- No use of lethal force to prevent a detained person from
escaping.

-- No use of riot control weapons, including tear gas, water
cannons, or rubber bullets.

-- No use of Finnish forces outside the KFOR area of
operations.

2. (C) In a conversation with the FDF International Division,
Embassy Helsinki DATT was told that the FDF has proposed to
the Ministry of Defense that the latter two caveats be
lifted. The third was written into Finnish deployment orders
some years ago, when it was assumed that soldiers would not
be involved in riot control actions. Now the Finns realize
the situation has changed, said our source. Nevertheless,
MoD lawyers are currently examining the use of tear gas to be
sure that it is consistent with Finland's obligations under
the Chemical Weapons treaty.

3. (C) In a July 29 conversation with Klaus Korhonen, MFA
Acting Political Director, and Mikko Kinnunen, Acting Chief
of the Security Policy Unit, POL Chief urged the MFA to throw
its weight behind the lifting of all four caveats. POL Chief
stressed that this recommendation is the result of the NATO
study of lessons learned from the tragic violence of last
March -- when former Finnish PM Holkeri was head of UNMIK.
We underlined that the first caveat is not a theoretical
issue, since attacks on patrimonial sites, or on the homes of
minority groups, have been major contributors to past
violence. Korhonen said he understood, but said MFA would
need to discuss the caveats with its own legal staff, since
"the principles, traditions, and practices on which (these
limitations) may be based" have to be addressed.

4. (C) On August 2, Acting Defense Attache presented a
parallel demarche to Dr. Pauli Jarvenpaa, MoD DG for Defense
Policy, and third-ranking official at the Ministry. Jarvenpaa
said that in response to past incidents in Kosovo, Finnish
Defense Forces (FDF) legal staff had prepared a document
addressing the caveats issue; this document is currently
being studied by MoD. Jarvenpaa opined that use of legal
force to protect property and to prevent a detained person
from escaping are the thorniest caveats for the Finns. He
said that the Finns will find some sort of work-around on the
use of riot control weapons (e.g., use of water cannons) so
as to avoid violating NBC chemical weapons conventions. He
further believed that the Finns would relax restrictions
allowing their troops to operate outside the KFOR area of
operations.


COMMENT
-------

5. (C) The Finns remain committed to non-alignment, and are
proud of the current and past role they have played in
nonviolent dispute resolution and peacekeeping. That said,
their attitude toward security issues also reflects their
highly pragmatic side. As a nation they are proud of -- and
comfortable with -- their close relationship with NATO and
the fact that they were the first non-NATO country to lead a
regional unit within KFOR. We assume that the question of
caveats has been discussed with the Finns within NATO
channels; to induce some change in the first caveat may
require a very high-level presentation -- such as an early
SACEUR demarche to ADM Kaskeala, the Finnish CHOD. The
timing of this demarche is important. If countervailing
views favoring restrictive caveats have time to harden,
Kaskeala will have a more difficult time influencing the
desired outcome.
MACK

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