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Cablegate: Potential Travel to U.S. By Senior Icelandic Officials In

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRK #0207 3221606
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181606Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4223
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000207

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

TREASURY FOR MYERS AND NORTON
NSC FOR HOVENIER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON EFIN IC
SUBJECT: POTENTIAL TRAVEL TO U.S. BY SENIOR ICELANDIC OFFICIALS IN
2010

1. (SBU) Several high-level GOI officials have expressed interest in
traveling to the U.S. in early 2010 to meet with officials at
counterpart agencies. A visit prior to January is unlikely, as the
government lacks the money to finance a trip at the moment and
officials are finalizing the 2010 budget. However, possible visits
by the Minister of Finance, the Central Bank Governor, and the
Minister of Economic Affairs might take place in January or
February.

2. (SBU) Central Bank Governor Mar Gudmundsson and Finance Minister
Steingrimur Sigfusson told the Charge d'Affaires (CDA) separately
that they would like to discuss options for addressing Iceland's
economic and fiscal challenges with their appropriate counterparts
in Washington as well as the IMF. Minister of Economic Affairs
Gylfi Magnusson told CDA that he would like to consult with U.S.
experts about how to restructure the banking system going forward
and to learn more about where the U.S. system is today and where it
is headed. (Note: We expect that Gudmundsson and Sigfusson would
travel together, but it is unclear whether Magnusson would go with
them or separately. End Note.)

3. (SBU) Comment. Post strongly supports the idea of a GOI
delegation visiting the U.S. for consultations. This would be an
excellent opportunity to build upon strong bilateral relations and
to provide public support for Iceland's economic recovery. Meetings
with officials at the Departments of State and Treasury, and Federal
Reserve as well as with other banking regulators, would be useful.
In addition, post would recommend a meeting highlighting the
positive economic impact of data centers in Northern Virginia.
Iceland is currently looking at this industry as one way to
diversify its economy, but at the same time is struggling to create
an attractive foreign investment framework that would encourage this
diversification. End comment.

WATSON

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