Cablegate: Finland: November Gaerc Strategy
C O N F I D E N T I A L HELSINKI 001486
STATE FOR EUR/ERA AND EUR/NB
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/19/2014
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL EU TU FI
SUBJECT: FINLAND: NOVEMBER GAERC STRATEGY
REF: STATE 244333
Classified By: POLOFF DAVID ALLEN SCHLAEFER FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)
1. (C) Poloffs delivered reftel demarche to officials at the
MFA and to Jonna Partanen, Special Advisor on EU Affairs to
Prime Minister Vanhanen. On November 19, Poloff received
feedback from Leena Aalto, Counselor in the MFA's EU Affairs
Division. Aalto's remarks were keyed to the issues covered
Middle-East Peace Process
2. (C) Aalto said that the top priority for Finland was
securing strong EU support for a new electoral process aimed
at electing a new generation of post-Arafat Palestinian
leaders. She said that Arafat's death provided a "window of
opportunity" in which to promote a substantive peace
settlement in Palestine, and that the EU and U.S. needed to
closely cooperate to take advantage of this opportunity.
(Note: Aalto's remarks about the "window" were almost
identical to those made by Foreign Minister Tuomioja on Nov.
8 during a meeting with EUR A/S Jones in Helsinki).
China Arms Embargo
3. (C) Aalto opined that she did not believe the EU would
produce a statement suggesting to China that the arms embargo
would be lifted in the near future. She said that certain EU
countries would push hard for this, but that so many
differences remained about how to revise the Code of Conduct
and how to pursue the EU's human rights dialogue with
Beijing, that it would be very difficult to draft any
consensus statement. She said that the fact the discussion
was back on the agenda for November was already a concession
to EU members that wished to lift the embargo. Finland's
official position would be that it was too early to produce
such a statement.
4. (C) Finland shares American concerns over Belarus, and
agrees that U.S.-EU coordination is important. Finland will
support whatever consensus emerges at the GAERC as regards
possible measures against the Belarusian leadership.
5. (C) Aalto said that she understood Cyprus was no longer
on the November GAERC agenda.
6. (C) Finland supports Turkish EU accession and will try
to build consensus for setting a concrete date for talks to
begin. Aalto said that it was possible certain EU countries
might support setting a date, but propose language suggesting
that an arrangement short of full membership might still be a
"positive" outcome to accession talks. Finland was opposed
to this since it would send a negative signal to Turkey at
the outset of negotiations. However, Aalto said that the
question of timing (when the actual date is) was less
important than the establishment of a concrete date itself.
She said that Finland would prefer an early date, but would
support whatever consensus emerged so long as it was "clear
7. (C) Aalto also said that Finland was interested in the
anticipated GAERC discussion about Iran's nuclear program.
She said that both Tehran's positive response to the European
proposal and Secretary Powell's comments about Iranian
attempts to obscure efforts to produce a warhead and delivery
vehicle would likely be discussed at the GAERC.