Cablegate: Finland: Views On March Gaerc Issues

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




E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/15/2015

REF: STATE 39909

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

1. (U) On March 15 we met with Finnish MFA Acting European
Correspondent Leena Aalto to review issues on the agenda for
the March 16 GAERC, and to reinforce USG concern over the
future of the EU's China arms embargo. Following are Finnish
views, by subject:

2. (C) Croatia: Aalto said that "frantic diplomacy is still
going on" today, as del Ponte talks to the presidency and
COREPER discusses what steps to take. Aalto assured us that
the Finns agree with the U.S.: no date for accession talks
should be set until/unless Croatia lives up to its obligation
to cooperate fully with the ICTY. She noted that on March
11, Finland's Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security
Policy (which includes President Halonen as well as PM
Vanhanen and the cabinet) issued the following statement:

"... One of the main issues to be discussed (at the GAERC)
regards Croatia's decision on the handover of the indicted
general, Ante Gotovina, to the Hague. Finland is of the
opinion that Croatia's full cooperation with the Tribunal is
prerequisite for the opening of the negotiations on 17 March
2005. Finland also considers it important that the EU
consistently adhere to the jointly adopted policy regarding
cooperation with the Tribunal and that the EU assess
Croatia's cooperation on the basis of the Tribunal's

3. (C) China arms embargo: As Washington is aware, the GoF
believes that the Code of Conduct would be a better
instrument for controlling the kinds of dual-use technologies
the Chinese are most apt to want, if the Code were
strengthened and made legally binding -- and that the current
move to lift the embargo offers an opportunity to win those
changes to the Code. We asked Aalto whether that view still
holds, give the Chinese legislature's passage of a law
authorizing use of force against a future Taiwanese
declaration of independence. We also pointed out (again)
that opposition to lifting the embargo comes not just from
the United States but also from Japan and other nations in
China's East Asian region.

4. (C) Aalto said that the President's strong presentation on
this issue during the February 22 meetings in Brussels made
clear how important this matter is to the United States. The
question is on the agenda for next week's meeting of the
European Council; in the meantime, the PSC has been
discussing how to provide more information to, and organize
more contacts with, the United States and Japan on the
matter. There is still a common understanding that the EU
wants to brings this issue to a conclusion during the
Luxembourg presidency, said Aalto, but the EU is not yet
ready to do that.

5. (C) Middle East/Lebanon/Hizballah: Aalto said that Finland
strongly favors Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, and that the
GAERC will call for implementation of UNSCR 1559. The GoF's
position on Hizballah has not changed, however, and it comes
directly from FM Erkki Tuomioja. Tuomioja believes that
Hizballah's MPs still have a role to play in Lebanon's
national reunification process, and that listing Hizballah as
a terrorist organization at this juncture could make that
process more difficult. The Finns are following the
situation carefully, said Aalto, and are aware that the
positions of some EU nations are shifting toward listing, but
"Finland will be among the last to change its view."

6. (C) UNCHR: Septel will describe in more detail GoF views
on the Commission's annual session. Aalto did say the Finns
were disappointed that the UNCHR will not consider a
resolution on the human rights situation in Chechnya. In any
case, the GoF plans to take up this subject with the Russians
in bilateral meetings, and it is sure to be part of the
EU/Russian dialogue on human rights.

7. (C) EU/Russia: Aalto said that as preparations for the
April 1 Foreign Ministers' meeting and the May 10 summit go
forward, the GoF continues to believe that all four common
spaces must be adopted as a single package. She added that
the Finns are dissatisfied with the pace of negotiations, and
hope the Commission will accelerate its efforts to achieve
agreement on all four in time for the summit.

8. (C) Russia/Moldova: Aalto expressed general agreement with
U.S. views, and said that the Finns assume the new EU Special
Representative -- whose mandate is due to begin April 1 --
will be included as an observer in the five-sided talks.

9. (C) Russia/Georgia: Aalto noted that an options paper on
an EU Border Monitoring Operation has been circulated, but
that "it didn't gain outright support." Asked why not, she
said, "It had a lot to do with figuring out an exit
strategy." She said that the GoF is flexible on this matter;
the Finns are ready now to help augment the team of EU
Special Representative Talvitie, and "ready to look at other
options too."

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