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Cablegate: Tfgg01: Iceland On Russian Activities in Georgia

Published: Thu 14 Aug 2008 05:05 PM
VZCZCXRO0934
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHRK #0173 2271722
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 141722Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3764
INFO RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 0250
RUEHXP/ALL NATO POST COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L REYKJAVIK 000173
SIPDIS
E.O. 12985: DECL: 08/14/2018
TAGS: MOPS PREL PHUM NATO UN GG RS IC
SUBJECT: TFGG01: ICELAND ON RUSSIAN ACTIVITIES IN GEORGIA
REF: State 87254
Classified by Ambassador Carol van Voorst for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (SBU) In discussion of the current situation in Georgia with
Political Director Greta Gunnarsdottir, the highest available MFA
official, the Ambassador urged August 14 that Iceland press Russia to
take the necessary steps detailed in reftel. Gunnarsdottir will raise
the message with the Foreign Minister asap. In response to the
Ambassador's questions, Gunnarsdottir offered following observations:
- Humanitarian aid: Iceland was specifically asked for and will
provide "very quickly" an information officer to work for UNICEF in
Georgia. The government is considering other humanitarian
contributions, but has as yet reached no specific decisions.
Ambassador detailed U.S. contributions and pressed for a speedy and
positive decision to help meet the increasing humanitarian needs of
the region.
- NAC Meeting August 19 in Brussels: Foreign Minister Ingibjorg
Solrun Gisladottir will attend, accompanied by Amb. Thorir Ibsen, MFA
head of NATO affairs.
- Icelandic-Russian contacts: Iceland has not approached Russia
bilaterally on Georgia developments, preferring to deal with the
subject in multilateral fora. Ambassador made the case for direct
bilateral engagement, noting that Iceland does have an Embassy in
Moscow and that the Russian ambassador in Reykjavik has made
intemperate and misleading remarks to the press concerning Georgia's
leadership and regional intentions. (Note: We understand that the MFA
had considered but decided not to call in the Russian ambassador.)
2. (C) Ambassador has requested a meeting with Permanent Secretary
Gretar Mar Sigurdsson, Gunnarsdottir's boss, on his return from leave
next week to raise Iceland's uninspiring stance in the recent NAC
meetings on Georgia. Although we suspect the GOI is trying to avoid
irritating the Russians in advance of the October vote on Iceland's
bid for a UNSC seat, we want to point out that stepping up in a
necessary cause is the type of behavior the U.S. looks for in a UNSC
member.
van Voorst
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