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Cablegate: Gymnich Meeting: Finland Says Eu "Fairly

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 001137

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/ERA AND EUR/NB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/02/2014
TAGS: PREL FI IZ CH TU IR SU ZL XF EUN
SUBJECT: GYMNICH MEETING: FINLAND SAYS EU "FAIRLY
UNANIMOUS" IN SUPPORT OF FINANCING UN PROTECTION FORCE

REF: A. STATE 182534

B. STATE 180598
C. STATE 166158
D. HELSINKI 894
E. HELSINKI 1124

Classified By: POL Chief John Hall for Reasons 1.4(B) and (D)

1. (C) Summary: In an August 27 meeting with the chief of the
MFA's EU coordination unit, we reviewed the agenda for the
September 3-4 Gymnich meeting. We were told that the EU is
leaning toward a financial contribution to support a UN
protection force in Iraq -- and that Finland would consider
making a national contribution if EU funds did not
materialize. (The GoF made that position official on
September 1; see septel.) On other issues, we were told the
Finns: still favor shifting EU focus from the China arms
embargo to improving the code of conduct; have no problem
with giving Turkey a date for beginning accession
negotiations; support sanctions against Sudan -- if those
sanctions take into account the concurrent need to end
Sudan's civil war; agree pressure must be kept on Iran; feel
Ambassador Eide's recommendations on Kosovo make sense but
may be hard to implement; and support the Sharon plan for
Gaza withdrawal -- as long as it is not Gaza first and last.
Our exchange on Burma/ASEM is reported in Ref E; the Finns
seem still inclined to accept a lower-level Burmese presence
at the summit. End Summary

Iraq
----

2. (C) On August 27 POL Chief and PolOff met with Kimmo
Lahdevirta, chief of MFA's EU coordination unit, to review
issues likely to be raised at the Foreign Ministers' upcoming
Gymnich meeting. Lahdevirta said that in addition to the
topics mentioned in Ref A, the ministers' agenda includes
Iraq and Middle East peace negotiations.

3. (C) We asked whether the EU had come to any decision on
the request that the European Union contribute financially to
cover certain costs for countries that provide troops for a
UN protection force (Refs B, C). Lahdevirta said that the
question had been discussed at that week's meeting of the
PSC, and his understanding was the participants were "fairly
unanimous" that the EU should provide some money (he did not
say how much) from EU common funds to support this
initiative. He said that the FMs will take up the matter at
the Gymnich, but in the meantime, the Commission has been
tasked with finding the money to do this.

4. (C) Lahdevirta added that Finland prefers the idea of the
EU contributing as a group, rather than some individual
members providing national funds. But if EU funding does not
materialize, he said, Finland "would be willing to consider"
making a national contribution. (Note: On September 1, the
GoF reported formally to us, and to its fellow EU members,
that this is Finland's position. See septel for further
details.)

China Arms Embargo
------------------

5. (C) We argued, as we have in past conversations with the
GoF, that the government of China would portray lifting of
the embargo as an endorsement of China's recent human rights
record, an endorsement China certainly does not deserve.
Lahdevirta said the Finns understand and agree that the
Chinese human rights record is "very problematic."
Nevertheless, the GoF still believes the most productive
course would be to shift attention to the EU code of conduct,
tighten it so that it more effectively controls
high-technology items not covered by the arms embargo, and
bring it into the EU's body of codified, binding legislation.
(Septel reports on a subsequent, more detailed conversation
with nonproliferation chief and PolDir-designate
Vierros-Villeneuve.)

Turkey and the EU
-----------------

6. (C) Lahdevirta said that Finland (during whose 1999 EU
presidency Turkey became a formal candidate for EU
membership) has no problem with Turkey being given a date for
the beginning of accession negotiations. He added that the
GoF has been "very disappointed" with the Greek Cypriots'
reaction to the decision to widen contacts with Northern
Cyprus.

Sudan/Darfur
------------

7. (C) Lahdevirta said Finland is prepared to consider
sanctions against the Government of Sudan, but reiterated
that those sanctions must take into account the ongoing and
separate need to foster peaceful resolution of the
government/SPLA civil war. (See Ref D and previous.)
Iran
----

8. (C) The GoF is "waiting eagerly" for the UK/French/German
report, but certainly agrees that the EU must be part of the
international pressure on Iran to cooperate fully with the
IAEA and to suspend all its enrichment-related and
reprocessing activities.

Kosovo
------

9. (C) Lahdevirta described NATO PermRep Eide's recent report
to the UNSYG as "very critical and his recommendations very
harsh -- but they may be necessary. The question is how to
implement them." The report, he said, contains ideas that
make sense, but are more easily said than done. On the issue
of Belgrade's interests in Kosovo, Lahdevirta remarked that
Kosovo Serbs have a legitimate fear of being marginalized or
cantonized. They must be able to feel that they have a
future.

Middle East
-----------

10. (C) The EU will do what it can to support PM Sharon's
Gaza withdrawal plan, said Lahdevirta, but with the
understanding that it cannot be Gaza first and last.

MACK

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