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Cablegate: Finnish Comments On October 13 Gaerc

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RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHHE #0463 2841032
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101032Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4594
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE 0014
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 4920
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 0239
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 0206
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 0962
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0101

UNCLAS HELSINKI 000463

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EUN PHUM PREL PGOV ZI UZ BO GG RS FI
SUBJECT: FINNISH COMMENTS ON OCTOBER 13 GAERC

REF: STATE 108064

1.(U) Poloff delivered GAERC demarche to Finnish MFA European
correspondent Leena-Kaisa Mikkola October 10.

2.(SBU) Zimbabwe: Mikkola said that the discussion on
Zimbabwe will focus on EU humanitarian assistance and whether
assistance can be delivered without hindrance. She further
stated that the sanctions policy would not be changed without
improvement. Mikkola noted that government of Finland (GoF)
agreed with the US positions.

3.(SBU) Georgia: Mikkola noted that the EU presidency does
not want an in-depth discussion of EU-Russia relations at
this meeting. She expects the discussion will center on
whether the Russians have withdrawn from the buffer zones.
Mikkola further stated that although the EU is committed to
support of Georgian territorial integrity, she does not
expect a discussion on travel restrictions for South Ossetian
and Abkhaz officials. She remarked that the October 15 Geneva
conference and the October 22 Brussels donor conference will
be discussed. She expects that the European Council meeting
next week may take up EU-Russia relations discussions in
advance of the EU-Russia November summit. Mikkola remarked
that the EU mission has started to function quite well and
that the EU may congratulate itself on its success.

4.(SBU) Belarus: Mikkola stated that the GoF is not far from
the US position on Belarus. She noted that the EU has had
sanctions in place for four years and would not lift them
completely but will discuss them in light of the positive
news on the release of political prisoners and possibly
suspend some sanctions. Mikkola remarked that the
parliamentary elections were not as democratic as hoped.
Foreign Minister Stubb met with President Lukashenko in
Belarus a couple of days ago and will likely brief the EU.
The GoF views Belarus as far from perfect but regards
engaging with it especially important following the crisis in
Georgia. Mikkola said that Belarus has been under pressure
from Russia to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia but has
not done so.

5.(SBU) Uzbekistan: Mikkola said that Uzbekistan,s recent
positive steps--including the release of political prisoners,
legislation abolishing the death penalty, and ratification of
international conventions related to child labor--would be
discussed. She said that the arms embargo will stay in place
but that certain other sanctions may be lifted.
BARRETT

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