Viewing cable 04HELSINKI1360

04HELSINKI13602004-10-19 13:55:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Helsinki
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/15/2014 
REF: MOSCOW 13251 
Classified By: Ambassador Earle I. Mack for Reasons 1.4(B) 
and (D) 
¶1. (C) Summary:  On October 7 Assistant Secretary for Arms 
Control Stephen Rademaker and AC Special Advisor Paul 
Janiczek, en route back to Washington from a visit to Moscow 
(reftel), stopped in Helsinki for consultations with the 
Finnish government.  In separate meetings with the Ministry 
of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense, Rademaker urged 
the Finns to support the new U.S. initiative for a global ban 
on the sale or export of all persistent landmines.  He also 
made the case for negotiating such a ban in the CD, rather 
than the CCW.  At both ministries, officials said they saw no 
reason for Finland to object to such a ban.  Finnish 
officials briefed the Assistant Secretary on the GoF decision 
to sign the Ottawa Convention in 2012 and eliminate all 
anti-personnel landmines (APLs) by 2016.  The Finns asked for 
Rademaker's views on recent development in Russia, and 
expressed concern over "hardline trends", although they said 
the Finnish-Russian bilateral relationship remains on track. 
MFA officials also sought U.S. views on a wide range of other 
issues, including the CTBT, NPT, and BWC.  End Summary. 
The U.S. Landmine Initiative 
¶2. (C) A/S Rademaker and Special Advisor Janiczek spoke first 
with MoD officials, including LGEN (ret) Matti Ahola, the 
ministry's second-ranking official, Director General for 
Resource Policy Eero Lavonen, Deputy DG for Defense Policy 
Olli-Pekka Jalonen, and Senior Advisor Taina Susiluota, the 
Ministry's chief civilian expert on landmines.  At the MFA, 
the visitors met with Under Secretary for Political Affairs 
Jaakko Laajava, Political Director Markus Lyra, Arms Control 
director Pilvi-Sisko Vierros-Villeneuve, and Laura 
Kansikas-Debraise, who has the landmine portfolio.  The 
visitors were accompanied by DATT to the first meeting, and 
by POL chief to both meetings. 
¶3. (C) In his conversations with both MFA and MoD, Assistant 
Secretary Rademaker recalled the close cooperation between 
the U.S. and Finnish governments on landmines, cooperation 
that continues today in the CCW in Geneva, where Finnish 
Ambassador Reimaa has been a valued partner.  Bearing that 
cooperation in mind, the Assistant Secretary hoped the GoF 
would be able to support the new U.S. initiative for a global 
ban on the transfer of persistent landmines, covering both 
anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines. 
¶4. (C) Rademaker said we share the concern over the 
humanitarian effects of landmines that motivated the framers 
of the Ottawa Convention.  This is evidenced by our support 
for demining efforts worldwide, in which we invest a great 
deal more than most Ottawa Convention signatories.  The 
Convention is one solution to these humanitarian concerns, 
but it is not the best solution, since it does not cover 
anti-vehicle mines -- which can have anti-handling devices 
that are equivalent to APLs and which therefore present just 
as great a challenge.  The U.S. is now confident enough of 
self-destructing/self-deactivating (SD/SDA) technology that 
we have committed to eliminate all persistent landmines from 
our inventory by 2010.  There are several advantages to doing 
so: the obvious humanitarian benefit; elimination of the 
costly need to clear minefields after conflicts; and the fact 
that given the highly mobile nature of modern warfare, U.S. 
forces might have to pass through areas that we ourselves 
once had mined. 
¶5. (C) The Assistant Secretary noted that over the years 
persistent landmines have been transferred to Angola, 
Afghanistan, Cambodia, and many other nations.  The U.S. 
proposes an international treaty prohibiting the sale or 
export of such mines -- although there should be an exception 
for SD/SDA mines, to allow countries with persistent mines to 
replace them with the new technology.  "The Ottawa Convention 
missed the point.  It's not the existence of landmines in 
warehouses that's killing people, it's the fact that they're 
persistent.  And it's their indiscriminate export that is 
the problem." 
¶6. (C) Rademaker said that one issue yet to be decided is 
where to negotiate such a ban.  The U.S. knows Ambassador 
Reimaa favors doing so in the CCW, but we prefer the 
Conference on Disarmament, for several reasons.  First, the 
CCW is fundamentally about the law of war, not arms control. 
Second, the CD has not been engaged in productive work on any 
subject for some time; this must end if its continued 
existence is to be justified.  And finally, introducing into 
the CCW a proposed ban on the sale/export of anti-personnel 
and anti-vehicle mines, in addition to the anti-vehicle 
landmine (AVL) initiative already pending there, would so 
complicate matters that it would likely ensure no progress is 
made on either initiative. 
¶7. (C) In response, MFA Under Secretary Laajava said ruefully 
that the entire issue "is a real minefield for us -- we don't 
want to overstep into things we can't control."  He said the 
GoF would need time to consider the U.S. initiative. 
Nevertheless, PolDir Markus Lyra said, "Your ideas sound all 
right to me."  Arms Control chief Vierros-Villeneuve noted 
that in the past, the GoF had supported use of the CD.  She 
said that from the substantive point of view the Finns would 
have no problem with negotiation in the CD framework, 
although it would be difficult for Finland to take the lead 
in such negotiations.  She said there are strong feelings in 
the EU that the Ottawa Convention should not be undermined by 
other discussions -- but, she acknowledged, the U.S. 
initiative would be about more than APLs.  In Rademaker's MoD 
meeting, Jalonen and Susiluota said that their ministry would 
have no problem with anything in the U.S. proposal -- the 
substance of the initiative presents no difficulty for 
¶8. (C) The Finns asked how the Russians and Chinese have 
responded to the U.S. initiative.  A/S Rademaker said the 
Russians told him they are prepared to begin negotiations on 
a transfer ban -- "which is huge," since much of the 
worldwide humanitarian problem stems from Soviet-manufactured 
mines.  The Russians have not yet agreed to an exception for 
SA/SDA mines, saying this can be addressed in the 
negotiations.  The Russian position on the AVL proposal in 
the CCW is much more negative: they have said they need 
undetectable anti-vehicle mines and will not give them up. 
As for the Chinese, the U.S. has discussed the concept with 
them only in general terms, but their initial reaction was 
not negative. 
Finland's Landmines 
¶9. (C) Both ministries briefed the Assistant Secretary on 
Finland's decision, made in the context of the nation's new 
"white paper" on security and defense policy, to sign the 
Ottawa Convention in 2012 and destroy its APLs by 2016.  At 
the same time, anti-vehicle mines will be retained 
indefinitely.  LGEN Ahola said landmines are a vital part of 
the territorial defense; referring to the two wars fought 
with the Soviet Union in the 1940s, he said there are tens of 
thousands of veterans alive today thanks to landmines.  The 
Finnish public supports their retention "as long as things in 
Russia are uncertain."  Insofar as the APLs are concerned, 
however, the MoD has been cooperating with the U.S. 
Department of Defense and private U.S. companies in 
determining what systems might be feasible replacements. 
These might include short-range perimeter defense weapons, 
improved anti-vehicle mines, "intelligent charges with an 
integrated sensor system," "smart ammunition" for artillery, 
and/or multiple rocket launchers.  To procure such systems, 
the government has pledged to add 200 million euros to the 
MoD budget over the period 2009-16, and the MoD will 
reprogram a further 111 M euros of its current budget. 
¶10. (C) MFA Under Secretary Laajava said that although the 
white paper covered a lot of ground, the Finnish parliament 
in its review of the document has concentrated on two 
subjects: a proposal for base closings and the APL decision. 
Although some MPs feel the government's timetable is too 
hasty and some not hasty enough, both MoD and MFA expect the 
GoF decision to hold.  In the meantime, said 
Vierros-Villeneuve, the government is bound by the EU policy 
of promoting the Ottawa Convention.  Laajava recalled that he 
had been Political Director when the Convention was being 
negotiated.  He had been sent to various EU capitals to 
explain the role that APLs play in Finnish defense, and make 
the case for Ottawa-compliant systems.  "I got zero sympathy. 
 And when Princess Diana got involved, an orderly negotiation 
process turned into a movement."  A/S Rademaker agreed that 
support of the Convention has become almost akin to a 
religion.  But religious devotion to one treaty should not be 
allowed to stand in the way of doing something meaningful to 
prevent the indiscriminate export of persistent landmines. 
Changes in the Russians 
¶11. (C) The Assistant Secretary's Finnish interlocutors also 
took the opportunity to ask for his views on other issues. 
First and foremost, they sought his assessment of political 
developments in Russia.  LGEN Ahola said the Finns "know the 
Russian hierarchy well," and bilateral conversations are 
continuing without problems for now, "but we -- including our 
politicians -- are worried about harder-line trends." 
Laajava, noting that Rademaker was returning from 
consultations in Moscow, asked for Rademaker's sense of the 
overall atmosphere there, because "we're not quite sure." 
The Assistant Secretary said that, compared to past trips to 
Moscow, he had found a new atmosphere at the MFA: things the 
U.S. and Russia had talked about in a businesslike way in the 
past were now more contentious, and surveillance during his 
visit was heavy and obvious. 
¶12. (C) Laajava asked if there has been any backtracking from 
previous commitments.  Rademaker said no, although the 
Russians are now less diplomatic in their rejections.  With 
regard to the Chemical Weapons Convention, for example, we 
have concerns regarding the Russian declaration.  For more 
than a year the USG has attempted to gain copies of certain 
documents the Russian government showed the OPCW.  One year 
ago the Russian side agreed to share these documents with the 
U.S., but now they claim that the documents in question have 
been destroyed.  The Assistant Secretary said that in the 
past, the U.S. and Russia could have a civilized dialogue on 
such concerns, and work together to resolve them, but now the 
Russian side seems less willing to cooperate.  He noted that 
the Russians need to be responsive: Congress will not 
find such behavior acceptable, given the amount of money the 
USG spends on assisting the GoR in eliminating its chemical 
Non-strategic Nuclear Weapons 
¶13. (C) A/S Rademaker's MFA interlocutors also sought his 
views on a wide range of other topics, beginning with that of 
tactical nuclear weapons.  Rademaker said that the U.S. is 
concerned that Russia has not complied fully with Yeltsin's 
undertakings of 1991-92.  NATO, for its part, has reduced its 
tactical nuclear weapons in accordance with the Presidential 
Nuclear Initiatives, and even lower.  PolDir Lyra noted that 
U.S. tactical nuclear weapons nevertheless have not been 
withdrawn totally from Europe.  The Assistant Secretary 
agreed, but said the remaining weapons are in Europe as much 
for the cohesion of the alliance as out of military 
necessity.  He added that there appears to be an argument 
about them within some NATO governments; in Germany, for 
example, the arms control community probably would like to 
see all tactical weapons go, but the German MoD feels they 
guarantee a U.S. nuclear umbrella. 
¶14. (C) Under Secretary Laajava asked how the USG assesses 
the state of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  A/S Rademaker 
said a lot will depend on how the next Rev Con goes.  The NPT 
is facing a crisis of compliance.  Are there other nations 
out there that were trading with the A.Q. Khan network, or 
otherwise pursuing nuclear weapons in violation of the NPT? 
In a serious Rev Con, that would be the focus. 
¶15. (C) Under Secretary Laajava said that Finns consider the 
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty one of the cornerstones of 
their foreign policy.  He had always thought the U.S. would 
be able to find some technical solution that would allow 
ratification of the treaty.  Is that hope now lost?  The 
treaty's credibility needs to be preserved, given the 
"tremendous tasks that lie ahead."  A/S Rademaker said that 
treaties require the votes of 2/3 of the Senate, which means 
they must enjoy bipartisan support.  The CTBT does not and 
will not, no matter who wins the U.S. election.  That said, 
the U.S. continues to respect the testing moratorium.  He 
noted rumors that the "robust nuclear earth penetrator" will 
require testing, but said that in fact this is planned to be 
an existing weapon placed in an even harder case than the 
Clinton Administration's "nuclear earth penetrator," which 
also was deployed without nuclear testing.  Moreover, 
bringing the Nevada test center back online would be very 
expensive.  Nevertheless, the reality is that no man-made 
device lasts forever.  We can envision circumstances 
developing in the future in which it would be very useful to 
us to test.  This ties into the problem of verifying the 
CTBT, which is of central concern to the Senate.  Arguably 
the CTBT might be an acceptable bargain if we were assured no 
one else was violating it, but nuclear testing can take place 
below the seismologists' ability to detect.  The CTBT clearly 
is not a good bargain for us if we adhere to it and others do 
¶16. (C) Laajava asked about U.S. plans for the next BWC Rev 
Con, which will take place during the Finnish EU presidency, 
in the second half of 2006.  A/S Rademaker said we have only 
started to think about this, since member states are only 
halfway through the work program adopted in 2002.  Overall, 
we are satisfied with the work program, but we continue to be 
dissatisfied with the approach represented by the BWC 
Protocol.  Verification arrangements under the Protocol could 
not be expected to detect cheating, but they could be 
expected to create problems for the biotechnology industry, 
in which patents are hard to achieve and based on very 
sensitive proprietary information.  Here, as in other areas 
like the Ottawa Convention, the Clinton Administration did 
the world no favors by letting a negotiation get to the final 
stages and then pulling away.  We know that many believe the 
Bush Administration walked away from the Protocol just as it 
was about to be signed, but this is not true. 
Vierros-Villeneuve assured Rademaker that Finland is aware of 
this, and Laajava added that he himself had seen it was 
untrue.  Vierros-Villeneuve said the EU agrees the Protocol 
is now part of the past, "just rhetoric."  Nevertheless, 
Laajava said, "the issue itself is tremendous -- even more so 
because of the terrorist threat."  Rademaker agreed that 
advances in biotechnology pose BW risks, although the 
industry overall has produced great benefits. 
¶17. (U) Assistant Secretary Rademaker has cleared this cable.