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Cablegate: Finnish Response to S Letter On Alleged Us

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 HELSINKI 001281

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/12/2015
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM FI EUN
SUBJECT: FINNISH RESPONSE TO S LETTER ON ALLEGED US
TRANSPORTATION OF TERRORIST SUSPECTS

REF: A. STATE 220071

B. STATE 219905
C. HELSINKI 1267
D. THOME-EUR/NB E-MAIL 28 NOV. 2005

Classified By: CDA Amy Hyatt for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: Finnish MFA officials have offered
generally measured reactions to the Secretary's response
to Foreign Secretary Straw on alleged US detention and
transportation of terrorist suspects through the EU. FM
Tuomioja publicly welcomed the Secretary's dialogue with
European partners at the Dec. 8 EU/NATO dinner, noting
that her "assurances have to be regarded as truthful."
However, the GOF also is clearly disappointed that it
will not receive a specific response to its request for
information regarding an alleged CIA flight that
transited Helsinki in 2003. The GOF is facing strident
demands for assurances that the flight in question did
not transport detainees, including a formal notification
from Parliament's legal affairs committee that it will
not ratify the US-EU bilateral extradition treaty or a
mutual legal assistance treaty until such assurances are
received. End Summary.

GOF Responds to Secretary's Letter to Straw
-------------------------------------------
2. (C) On Dec. 8, immediately following his participation
in the Secretary's EU/NATO dinner in Brussels, FM Erkki
Tuomioja issued a statement to the Finnish press in which
he welcomed Secretary Rice's efforts to respond to her
European counterparts' concerns about alleged US
detention and transportation of terrorist suspects in or
through EU member states. Saying that he, like his
colleagues, appreciated the Secretary's efforts to
address the issue, Tuomioja noted positively that Rice's
"assurances have to be regarded as truthful." However,
Tuomioja also expressed disappointment over the fact that
Finland would not receive a country-specific response to
its note verbal (see Reftel D) of Nov. 24, which
requested "additional information" regarding a Prescott
Services flight which landed in Helsinki in May 2003 and
which journalists and human rights groups have alleged
may have been transporting detainees. The GOF has been
facing pressure from the press and from Parliament on
this issue, and had requested in previous meetings (Refs
C and D) our assistance in helping to "bury" the issue.
When pressed by journalists as to why no specific
clarification would be forthcoming from the US, Tuomioja
stated, "We are disappointed. In terms of the issue, it
would have been better to get more detailed information."

Parliament Delays Action on Extradition Treaty and MLAT
--------------------------------------------- ----------
3. (C) On Dec. 9, Charge and PolChief met with Finnish
MFA Director for North America and Asia Elina Kalkku (A/S
equivalent) per Reftel A instructions. Kalkku, who had
already seen the Secretary's letter to Straw, once again
asked the Embassy to provide additional information about
the March 2003 flight that might help the MFA respond to
media and political pressure. Kalkku expressed concern
over the fact that the issue was threatening to slow
progress on other bilateral initiatives of importance to
both governments. In particular, she said, the Finnish
Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee (LAC) has officially
asked the MFA to provide clarifications regarding the
March 2003 flight, emphasizing that such information
would be important as the Committee begins the process of
ratifying the US-EU extradition treaty and a pending
Finnish-US mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT). (NOTE:
The LAC's chairman told PolChief privately that the
committee would take no action on either treaty until it
gets the information.) In addition, Kalkku noted that
Finland's European partners (she mentioned Sweden
specifically) are sharing information on flight/detainee
issues. While there is currently nothing to suggest that
more than one "of these flights" landed in Finland, the
GOF fears further negative fallout should the press or
others uncover another similar case.

4. (C) In response, Charge said that we had seen FM
Tuomioja's public statements and that we would take
careful note of the MFA's additional concerns regarding
other bilateral initiatives. She noted that Secretary
Rice's letter to Straw clearly laid out the US position
on the matter. However, per standing guidance, Charge
emphasized that no further information or a country-
specific response to Finland's requests for clarification
would be forthcoming.
HYATT

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