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Cablegate: Assistant Secretary Beth Jones' Meeting With

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 05 HELSINKI 001472

SIPDIS

STATE FOR A/S BETH JONES, EUR/NB, AND EUR/ERA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/17/2014
TAGS: CASC EU PGOV PHUM PREL SMIG TU FI
SUBJECT: ASSISTANT SECRETARY BETH JONES' MEETING WITH
FINLAND'S FOREIGN MINISTER ERKKI TUOMIOJA

REF: NONE

Classified By: POLOFF DAVID ALLEN SCHLAEFER FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

Summary
--------

1. (C) During her November 8 meeting in Helsinki with Finnish
Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, Assistant Secretary Jones
said that the Administration was already talking about
reinvigorating the transatlantic relationship, and said that
one of the purposes of her trip was to ask Finland's views
about this. FM Tuomioja replied that U.S. "re-engagement" in
the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative (BMENA)
and Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) was at the top of
Brussel's priority list, and that the current situation with
Arafat afforded both risks and opportunities to push the
peace process forward. A/S Jones expressed concern about the
ongoing Rogers child-custody case, and FM Tuomioja said that
he was confident the Finnish courts would resolve the
situation. Asked for his views about how the U.S. and EU
could positively engage Russia, FM Tuomioja opined that
Moscow did not understand how the EU works and was engaged in
futile attempts to split EU countries over certain issues.
A/S Jones and FM Tuomioja agreed that the U.S. and EU should
not shy away from human rights concerns in Chechnya and
acknowledged signs that the Russians again were willing to
discuss frozen conflicts such as the Transnistria and South
Ossetia disputes. FM Tuomioja said that the EU's statements
on Ukraine's election had possibly been too harsh; FM
Tuomioja and A/S Jones agreed on the importance of not giving
up on democratization in Ukraine.

2. (C) A/S Jones thanked the Foreign Minister for Finland's
contributions to coalition efforts inside Afghanistan and
Iraq. After the successful elections in Afghanistan, the
next big challenge was eradication of opium poppy
cultivation. FM Tuomioja agreed, remarking that U.S. and EU
agricultural policies do not facilitate viable alternatives
to poppy cultivation for poor farmers. FM Tuomioja also
advocated getting tough with Afghan Government elements
involved in narcotics trafficking. A/S Jones expressed U.S.
solidarity with Finland's support for Turkish EU accession,
prompting the Foreign Minister to opine that while an early
date for accession talks was desirable, simply establishing a
concrete date was the most important step. At the request of
Finland's Under Secretary for Political Affairs, A/S Jones
offered to put the Finnish officials in touch with U.S.
diplomats in Russia who are handling the State Department's
anti-trafficking in persons efforts there. Finally, noting
that Arctic climate change threatened the entire Arctic
region, the Foreign Minister hoped the upcoming Arctic
Council meeting in Reykjavik would spur efforts to ameliorate
this. A/S Jones replied that the U.S. was also looking
forward to the meeting and seeing the Council's new report.
End Summary.

Second Term Priorities
----------------------

3. (C) A/S Jones stated that, with the election behind us,
Secretary Powell was actively preparing for several major

SIPDIS
meetings, including the OSCE ministerial, and NATO and USEU
summits. The Administration wanted to reinvigorate the
transatlantic relationship. She called the FM's attention to
the President's reference to this in his November 3 press
conference. FM Tuomioja said no one should forget that
transatlantic cooperation was already working and delivering
results in most areas, and that where differences remained,
there were effective ways of dealing with them. The Foreign
Minister said that he hoped Secretary Powell would indeed
remain in office, and that he looked forward to seeing him
again at the NATO meeting, and perhaps in April in New York
at the next meeting of the Helsinki Process.

4. (C) A/S Jones said one of the purposes of her visit was to
ask for his ideas on ways that transatlantic relations could
be strengthened during the President's second term. The
Foreign Minister replied that the Broader-Middle East and
MEPP was the "number one item" among EU members, who expected
the U.S. to "re-engage" and jumpstart the process. He said
that while Arafat's death could lead to instability, it also
afforded a window of opportunity should the U.S. choose to
seize it. A/S Jones said that although she could not speak
for the White House, she knew the State Department was indeed
considering how best to use the Arafat situation to promote a
peaceful solution in the Middle East.
Rogers Case
-----------

5. (C) A/S Jones said that there was concern in Washington
over the ongoing Rogers case, in which a Finnish mother has
refused to obey U.S. and Finnish court orders requiring her
to surrender her two dual-national children to their U.S.
citizen father, and expressed hope that it would soon be
resolved. She noted that Finland needs to obey the letter of
the law. Tuomioja replied that it was a "messy" case and not
primarily the responsibility of his ministry, although he
acknowledged that Finland was bound by international treaty.
He said that he had faith in Finland's legal system and that
he believed the case would be cleared up soon. Jones
underscored the importance of complying with the Hague
Convention.

Russia
------

6. (C) A/S Jones asked FM Tuomioja for Finland's perspective
on how the U.S. and EU should approach Russia to bring about
positive engagement. FM Tuomioja said that he believed
Russia had unrealistic or ignorant expectations about how to
approach the EU. The Foreign Minister said that Moscow
wanted Finland to be a bridge between Russia and the EU, not
understanding that Finland was itself an integral part of the
EU. Russia did not understand how the EU worked or was
evolving; Moscow believed it could selectively choose what
issues it wished to address bilaterally with EU nations in
order to drive wedges among EU members. Such a strategy was
doomed to fail. Some EU countries had been more
"forthcoming" with Russia on issues like visa policy, which
had probably weakened the EU's position; hence the need for
the EU to follow common policy where it existed. FM Tuomioja
opined that the postponement of an EU-Russia summit
originally planned for November 11 was due to Moscow's
inability to limit the agenda to such "wedge issues." A/S
Jones agreed that it is good for the Russians to understand
there is a limit to how far they can push the EU.

Chechnya
--------

7. (C) The Foreign Minister said that the EU and U.S. should
not shy away from issues such as human rights in Russia,
specifically the situation in Chechnya. Finland fully
supported Russia's need to aggressively combat terrorism, but
that did not legitimate humans rights abuses. A/S Jones
agreed, noting that the fight against terrorism did not
justify backsliding on democracy. FM Tuomioja cited the need
for Russia to find a "legitimate partner" with whom they can
reach a political solution in Chechnya. A/S Jones said that
Russia wanted the U.S. to label all Chechens as terrorists,
obviating the need for political talks. FM Tuomioja
mentioned a recent flap over a Chechen website on a Finnish
server that was accused of inciting terrorism in the
Caucasus, advising that Finland had taken up the issue of its
own accord, not because of any Russia request or pressure;
Secretary Jones said that Russia had approached the U.S.

SIPDIS
about shutting down a similar website located in Texas.

Ukraine/Belarus/Frozen Conflicts
--------------------------------

8. (C) FM Tuomioja and A/S Jones agreed on the importance of
not giving up on democratization in Ukraine. A/S Jones said
that, even though real concerns existed, the Ukrainians
needed to hear the message that opportunities existed for
participation in transatlantic institutions, including
eventual EU membership, if progress continued. She said that
Ukraine might be ready for WTO membership within a year, a
huge step toward a better future. FM Tuomioja said that
while the EU could not say "yes" to Ukraine now, it would be
a mistake to say "never." There were interim stages of
integration that could be explored. He said that the EU's
statement on the recent election could possibly have been
"too tough," as the elections had gone better than he
expected. Jones said that like the EU, the U.S. believes
that no matter what the outcome of the elections, the U.S.
cannot turn its back on Ukraine.

9. (C) The Foreign Minister asked A/S Jones semi-rhetorically
if an independent Belarus had a future, arguing that Belarus
was a paradox as reintegration with Russia would actually
improve the region's human rights. A/S Jones replied that
there was scant enthusiasm in Moscow for such a solution.
A/S Jones noted that Russia was at least willing to schedule
discussions on frozen conflicts such as Transnistria and
South Ossetia again.
Caucasus/Central Asia
---------------------

10. (C) A/S Jones asked FM Tuomioja about the situation in
Central Asia. FM Tuomioja replied that he had visited only
Kyrgyzstan, the only place in the world where a Russian and
American military base co-existed. He said that Finland had
no specific advice on Central Asia other than the EU could
play a useful role in the region. A/S Jones mentioned that
the region had institutional associations with Europe via
NATO's Partnerhsip for Peace (PfP) and other similar
arrangements. The PfP has been good for Central Asia, not
least for improvements in the way the governments treat their
soldiers. FM Tuomioja mentioned that he planned to visit
Kazakhstan in January. A/S Jones opined that the biggest
challenge to the region will be its upcoming political
transitions and the need for Central Asian polities to see
that democratic transitions can work.

11. (C) FM Tuomioja noted he had recently visited Armenia and
Azerbaijan, where there seemed to be a new willingness on
both sides to show some flexibility. Here again, Russia is
the key. A/S Jones said this seemed to be an area where the
Russians are willing to engage in a constructive way, but the
parties remain so volatile that it is hard to make any
progress. A/S Jones and FM Tuomioja agreed that neither the
Armenian nor Azerbaijani Governments had done a good job of
preparing their publics for an eventual settlement, despite
what progress might have been made in private bilateral
discussions.

Climate Change
--------------

12. (U) The Foreign Minister said that a meeting of the
Arctic Council in Reykjavik would consider a new report on
climate change in the Arctic region. He said that it was
undeniable that such changed was taking place, which could
have devastating effects for the region's future. Tuomioja
said that he did not expect the U.S. to change its position
on the Kyoto Protocol, but hoped it would address important
environmental issues, and perhaps engage in negotiating a
"Kyoto Two." A/S Jones said that the Administration was
definitely interested in looking at the facts and the science
of the issue. FM Tuomioja stressed the importance of the
Arctic Council in bringing together representatives of the
Arctic's indigenous peoples (sic) with the regions'
governments. Such meetings of regional fora are all to the
good, he said -- an example being the eight-plus-one
consultations under e-PINE. Political Director Lyra seconded
this assessment.

Trafficking-in-Persons
----------------------

13. (SBU) A/S Jones asked the Foreign Minister about
Finland's recent anti-TIP activity, specifically in the areas
of victim assistance and prosecution. FM Tuomioja said that
Finland had recently adopted new anti-TIP legislation and was
confident its implementation would bring improvements in all
areas. He cited the recent break-up of a Russian-organized
prostitution ring in Helsinki, hoping that Finland's progress
would be "reflected in future evaluations." Under Secretary
of State for Political Affairs Jaakko Laajava said that
Finland's greatest obstacle in combating trafficking was
internal conditions inside Russia. A/S Jones replied that
the U.S. was working aggressively with NGOs inside Russia to
go after trafficking rings, ameliorate the conditions that
led to trafficking, and educate potential victims about the
dangers involved. Laajava asked A/S Jones for information
about the partners the U.S. was working with inside Russia,
and she promised to ask U.S. diplomats to put him in touch
with the appropriate people in Moscow and St. Petersburg. FM
Tuomioja added that Finland enjoyed an increasing measure of
trilateral cooperation with Russia and Estonia on the TIP
issue.

14. (C) FM Tuomioja lamented that the Russians are moving
border guards from their side of the Russian-Finnish border
to southern regions, which increases the burden on Finnish
border guards. A/S Jones recalled Finland's very good
training programs for Central Asian border authorities, and
asked whether that is continuing. U/S Laajava said only that
"it will be many years before our experience can produce
added value" in the "totally different environment" of
Central Asia.

Afghanistan/Iraq
----------------

15. (SBU) A/S Jones thanked the Foreign Minister for
Finland's contributions to the efforts inside Iraq and
Afghanistan. Election in Afghanistan had been far better
than we had dared hope. One of the biggest challenges now
was to eradicate opium poppy cultivation to stop the drug
flow out of the country; it was necessary to find economic
alternatives for poppy farmers so that they could survive
without resorting to poppy cultivation. FM Tuomioja agreed
that the elections had been successful, and added that it
would be good if the Iraqi elections were also as successful,
although that seemed more difficult. He said that now that
Afghanistan had a democratically-elected government, the
international community had to be tougher on government
elements involved in narcotics trafficking. He agreed that
finding economic alternatives for small farmers was a general
problem everywhere that narcotics were produced, and argued
that U.S. and EU agricultural subsidies and protective
barriers exacerbated the problem.

16. (C) A/S Jones said that in Iraq our focus is on helping
to build a legitimate police and military, along with
reconstruction generally. She thanked the Foreign Minister
for Finland's readiness to contribute a million euros to a UN
protection fund in Iraq. Discussions were underway in NATO
about how best to proceed with the training of Iraqi military
forces. (Note: At a press availability that followed the
meeting, the Assistant Secretary also thanked Finland
publicly for Finland's contributions to reconstruction and
stability in Afghanistan and Iraq.)

Iran
----

17. (C) FM Tuomioja said that he was hopeful the Iranian
response to the EU "nuclear" package might be positive, and
that he believed that there were some signs this might be the
case. If not, the international community faced a very
serious problem.

Turkey/Cypress
--------------

18. (C) A/S Jones said that the U.S. was grateful for
Finland's position on eventual Turkish accession and would do
what it could to keep the Turks moving down the path of
necessary reform. The U.S. had done its best, working behind
the scenes, and hoped the EU had noticed. The Foreign
Minister replied that this was appreciated, but wryly asked
that the U.S. not be "too helpful" and interject itself in
such a way that opponents of Turkish accession could use U.S.
support for Turkey as a straw man. FM Tuomioja said that the
present government of Turkey had made more progress toward
substantive reform in two years than the previous government
had made in twelve. Finland hoped the EU Commission in
December would set a concrete date for the beginning of
accession talks. FM Tuomioja opined that whether the date
was earlier or later was unimportant, but that the
establishment of a concrete timetable was the primary
concern. Political Director Lyra said that the latter half
of 2005 was most often mentioned in Brussels as the likely
timeframe. Both FM Tuomioja and A/S Jones agreed that it was
necessary to keep up the pressure on Turkey as regards
Cyprus, and that confidence-building measures such as the
withdrawal of some Turkish troops from the north would be
positive. They also agreed on the difficulty of working with
Cypriot President Popadopoulos.

19. (C) FM Tuomioja said that during his visit to Yerevan,
the Armenians had asked for help in getting the Turks to open
the border; some Turkish officials have privately sympathized
with the Armenian goal, "but the Turks have pushed themselves
into a corner." A/S Jones replied that the USG is working
hard on this; train transport is the first priority.

ESDP/Security Policy
--------------------
20. (C) FM Tuomioja said that Finland's Parliament would
endorse the general outline of the recently released "White
Paper," although there would probably be many minor revisions
and changes. A/S Jones said that the U.S. was pleased that
Finnish interoperability with NATO was stressed in the report.

21. (U) A/S Jones has cleared this cable.

Participants
------------

Finland:
Erkki Tuomioja, Foreign Minister
Jaakko Laajava, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Markus Lyra, Director General for Political Affairs
Paivi Luostarinen, Director General for the Americas and Asia
Marianne Huusko-Lamponen, Special Advisor to the Foreign
Minister
Leena Liukkonen, Counsellor, Unit for North America

United States:
A. Elizabeth Jones, Assistant Secretary for European and
Eurasian Affairs
Earle I. Mack, Ambassador of the United States to Finland
Robert Weisberg, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy Helsinki
Theresa Grencik, EUR Special Assistant
Helene Kessler, Information Officer, Embassy Helsinki
David A. Schlaefer, Political Officer, Embassy Helsinki
MACK

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