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Cablegate: Finland: Tepid Support for Belarus Sanctions

VZCZCXYZ0008
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHHE #0421 3160555
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120555Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5268

UNCLAS HELSINKI 000421

SIPDIS

EUR/UMB FOR JOE WANG; EUR/ERA FOR RACHEL WOLFE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: FI PREL
SUBJECT: FINLAND: TEPID SUPPORT FOR BELARUS SANCTIONS

REF: STATE 112644

1. (SBU) Pol/Econoff delivered reftel remarks to Markku
Lampinen, The MFA,s Deputy Director for the Unit for the
European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy. With
obvious reluctance Lampinen said the Finnish government (GOF)
is ready to extend the sanctions but would like to see a
mechanism put in place to review them annually. He expressed
skepticism as to whether the sanctions still have an
influence on the reform process. Lampinen said the GOF
favors engagement as they feel that total isolation does not
work. He said the status of the sanctions discussion within
the EU was unclear, and EU discussions on November 10 would
shed some light on Member States, positions. He added that
the discussion in Brussels mainly revolves around the
sanctions, technical issues, such as whether a future
lifting of the sanctions should coincide with the end of a
waiver period.

2. (SBU) In separate meetings with EUR NB Director
Silberstein, MFA officials expressed similar doubts about
sanctions and support for engagement. The MFA,s Eastern
Affairs Deputy Director Hanna Lehtinen said she expected the
EU to continue sanctions. She then spoke of the need to
encourage unspecified positive signs from the Belarus
government. Mikko Hautala, Advisor to Foreign Minister
Stubb, spoke critically of sanctions on Belarus.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: It seems that the GOF will agree to a
position continuing sanctions while withholding application,
but it is unlikely it will offer strong support. END
COMMENT.
ORECK
ORECK

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