Cablegate: Assistant Secretary Rademaker's Conversations In

Published: Tue 19 Oct 2004 01:01 PM
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
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.
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media