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Cablegate: Das Pekala,S October 4 Meetings with Finnish Mfa

DE RUEHHE #1037/01 2850845
R 120845Z OCT 06




E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/10/2016

Classified By: Econ Chief Jane Messenger for Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

1. (SBU) EUR DAS Mark Pekala visited Helsinki October 4-6 to
participate in the Nordic-Baltic Chiefs of Mission Conference
and to consult with Finnish officials on bilateral and
transatlantic issues. In separate meetings with Finnish
Political Director Pilvi-Sisko Vierros-Villeneuve and
Director General for the Americas and Asia Elina Kalkku,
Pekala discussed Finland,s EU Presidency, the Middle East,
Kosovo, North Korea, NATO, Georgia, and the October 24-25
U.S.-EU High Level Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy
and Sustainable Development (HLD), which will be hosted by
Finland in Helsinki. Vierros-Villeneuve gave an emphatic
explanation of why Finland was unable to provide AK-47s to
Afghanistan. Pekala raised U.S. support for Guatemala,s bid
for a UNSC seat and the status of the visa waiver program.
End Summary.

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Finland,s EU Presidency
2. (SBU) Vierros-Villeneuve said that Finland,s EU
Presidency had been "off-track" since the Lebanon crisis
broke in July. Finnish priorities had been subsumed to some
extent by the situation in the Middle East. Now that the
crisis was entering a new phase, the GoF hoped to refocus the
Presidency on upcoming events such at the EU-India Summit
(October) and the EU-Russia Summit (November).

Middle East
3. (SBU) Pekala noted that Secretary Rice was in the Middle
East to take stock of the situation, not to broker any
particular agreement. Vierros-Villeneuve agreed that her
visit was important, and opined that support for Abbas was
imperative at the present moment. She said that she was
particularly pleased that the Secretary had taken up the
access/movement issue since the GoF was concerned Gaza would
collapse unless progress was made in this area soon.
Vierros-Villeneuve reported that when Abbas had requested
additional EU assistance, Commissioner for External Relations
Ferrero-Waldner had balked. This was unhelpful, and member
states needed to come forward with assistance at this
critical time. DAS Pekala agreed that it was important not
to punish the Palestinian people, but instead to engage in
creative thinking about how to help them without supporting
the current regime.

No AK-47s for Afghanistan
4. (C) Vierros-Villeneuve said categorically that Finland
would not provide surplus AK-47s to Afghanistan. She
emphasized that myriad problems made it impossible ranging
from political considerations, to re-export license
difficulties with Germany, to domestic legislation. Finnish
public opinion, as well as Finland,s parliament, would
overwhelmingly oppose any transfer. Vierros-Villeneuve
worried that Finland,s leadership of the UN Small Arms
Treaty process would also be compromised, particularly with
its NGO partners. There were licensing problems, since the
arms originally came from (East) Germany. Finland would have
to secure a German re-export license and it was unlikely the
EU,s Code of Conduct would allow this. Finally, Moscow was
already complaining about other AK-47 re-export issues, and
transfer of the weapons in question would create further
difficulties for Finland with Russia. Vierros-Villeneuve
noted, however, that Finland was interested in exploring
other opportunities for assisting Afghan forces. Pekala said
he understood these serious obstacles; he asked for more
specific information on the export-license issue, on domestic
legislation, and on the number of AK-47s held by the Finns.
He said he hoped to continue this conversation with Finland.

5. (C) Vierros-Villeneuve asked about UN Special Envoy for
Kosovo Ahtisaari,s report at a meeting of EU Defense
Ministers that the U.S. now believed the timeline for an
agreement on Kosovo should be extended given the current
difficulties. Pekala replied that the U.S. continued to seek
a solution before the end of the year. During a recent trip
to Belgrade, A/S Fried delivered a clear and unequivocal
message to the Serbs that there was no going back. The past
(and the status quo) are unacceptable. The only option is to
move forward. Vierros-Villeneuve agreed that there had to be
a "European future" for the Serbs, including in the EU and in

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other transatlantic institutions. For its part, Finland was
pushing forward visa facilitation for young Serbs so that
they feel part of Europe and stakeholders in its future. She
added that Kosovo would be a top agenda item at the upcoming
GAERC in Brussels.

North Korea
6. (SBU) Vierros-Villeneuve said that the ASEM meeting had
highlighted for the EU the importance of the North Korea
nuclear issue for its Asian partners. The international
community needs to send Pyongyang a clear message that
threats to carry out a nuclear test - especially with a
showdown with Iran looming - are unacceptable. If North
Korea actually carried out a test, it should be severely
condemned, and real consequences should result. (Note: The
EU subsequently released a statement condemning North
Korea,s nuclear test.)

7. (SBU) Vierros-Villeneuve agreed with Pekala about the
seriousness of the situation in Georgia and the need to show
support for Georgian sovereignty. She said that upon his
recent return from Tbilisi, Finnish FM Tuomioja told Russian
FM Lavrov that Moscow,s response was disproportionate.
Vierros-Villeneuve believed that a strong message also needed
to be sent to the Georgians that the time was not right to
challenge Russia. Vierros-Villeneuve observed that the
Russian were feeling strong right now, and that Georgia had
developed an unhelpful tendency to present the EU with
successive "faits accomplis" when bucking Moscow. DAS Pekala
agreed about counseling restraint on Georgia,s part, but
said Tbilisi needed to know that the door was open to EU and
NATO membership and a European future.

8. (C) Vierros-Villeneuve said that Finland had agreed to
postpone release of the Finnish-Swedish enhanced partnership
proposal until the new Swedish government was formed; the
proposal would carry more weight with the new government,s
backing. DAS Pekala agreed this could be helpful, but
cautioned against waiting too long.

High Level Dialogue
9. (U) MFA Director General for Asia and the Americas Elina
Kalkku summarized preparations for the October 24-25 High
Level Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and
Sustainable Development, noting that it would be hosted
jointly by Finnish Minister for Environment Enestam and
Minister of Trade and Industry Pekkarinen with Commission
participation by DGTREN, DGENV and DGRELEX. The Finns will
also invite the German Ministers of Environment and Energy.
Hinting at bureaucratic difficulties, Kalkku observed that it
had been "quite an innovation" to gather environment and
energy officials together, but agreed that it made perfect
sense given the natural synergies between energy and climate
change. Pekala thanked Finland for its efforts and
particularly welcomed the co-chair role for the Ministers of
Environment and Trade and Industry.

UNSC Seat for Guatemala
10. (C) Kalkku stated that Finland would of course vote for
Guatemala and although there had been no formal consultation
among EU member states, she felt quite confident that the
entire EU would vote for Guatemala. She did note with
interest, however, that a recent visitor from Uruguay had
said that Latin America may not favor either Venezuela or
Guatemala and may look for a third Latin American candidate.
She also acknowledged that there was EU concern that Africa
would support Venezuela because of strong oil ties.

Visa Waiver
11. (U) In response to Pekala,s request for an update on
visa waiver discussions within the EU, Kalkku said that she
just received the Commission report that will form the basis
of Council discussion. She acknowledged that the move to
require diplomatic visas as a proposed countermeasure was a
possibility. Pekala briefed on the visa waiver roadmap
process and underscored that it was a serious and meaningful
effort designed to move countries in the right direction.
Kalkku advocated for any small step, such as Canada had

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recently taken with Estonia.

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