Cablegate: Finland: Plans for Upcoming Eu Talks On Unchr

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





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Poloffs on Oct. 3 spoke with MFA Director for
Human Rights Johanna Suurpaa and other Finnish officials
about Finland's and the EU's next steps on UNCHR reform.
Finland will be EU President beginning in July 2006, and the
GoF hopes that negotiations on UNCHR reform can be concluded
in time to allow the new Council to meet during its
Presidency. Accordingly, Finland plans to take an active
role both in EU discussions on a common position (beginning
Oct. 5 in Brussels) as well as the subsequent negotiations in
New York. Suurpaa said that she hopes Finland and the U.S.
can work closely in the coming weeks on the issue.

2. (SBU) According to Suurpaa, there is broad agreement
within the EU on the general nature of the proposed UN
Council on Human Rights. In addition, it appears that most
of these goals track closely with U.S. priorities. Finland
supports making UN Human Rights Council membership contingent
on a two-thirds vote. The GoF agrees that the new Council
should be a standing body, although the exact frequency of
scheduled sessions was less important. A May ministerial
meeting that provided NGOs an opportunity to interact with
the Council would be desirable. Augmenting the current
strength of the CHR and not "sliding back" is also a
"non-negotiable" point, and Suurpaa emphasized that the EU
and U.S. must work together to scuttle efforts by certain
countries to press for a Council that is actually weaker than
the current CHR. The GoF would like to see the new Council
have greater ability to address urgent human rights abuses
and emerging crises, such as through a direct referral
mechanism to the Security Council. Suurpaa repeatedly
emphasized that the "timetable" issue was very important to
the GoF and suggested the GoF (and possible the EU?) would be
willing to leave certain details to future debate in order to
get the new Council up and running by the fall of 2006.

3. (SBU) Finland agrees with the U.S. positions on peer
review and Third Committee relations, but views these issues
as less important than those cited above. Suurpaa said that
there was no reason to even discuss the Third Committee issue
at this point. The one area of partial disagreement with the
U.S. is over the new Council's size. The GoF would like to
see a Council of more than 30 since Finland's membership
opportunities (as a small country) would be more limited with
a smaller body. However, the GoF views the size issue as
negotiable and, again, of less importance.

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