|04HELSINKI1604||2004-12-29 14:17:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Helsinki|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L HELSINKI 001604
1. (C) On December 22 Jarmo Viinanen, advisor to Finnish
President Halonen, gave us a read-out on the December 14
meeting between Halonen and Russian President Putin.
Viinanen confirmed that, as reported to Embassy Tallinn
(reftel), Halonen had asked when Putin would sign border
treaties with Estonia and Latvia. Putin's response,
according to Viinanen, was, "When (their leaders) come here
on May 9." Putin added that this is his policy line -- there
are others who do not feel this way.
2. (C) We asked whether the Finns interpreted Putin's
response as flippant. No, said Viinanen, "It's a promise in
a way," and Putin may well have intended to send a message
through Halonen: if Estonia and Latvia are willing to take
the difficult political step of joining in the May 9
ceremonies, Putin would be willing to respond in kind by
signing the treaties. The Finns believe that Putin's
reference to this being his own policy line means that he
will have to overrule those in the GoR who favor a more
hard-line position. "I would suspect that there are those in
MFA and elsewhere who would be happy to increase the
pressure, not reconcile," Viinanen said.
3. (C) Putin also noted that he had instructed FM Lavrov to
discuss this with the Estonian and Latvian FMs in Brussels.
The Finns do not know what came of those conversations.
Viinanen did comment that even if Putin's offer is genuine,
U.S. and EU pressure may be needed between now and May to
make sure the Russian promise is kept.
4. (C) Regarding the use of the word "occupation," Viinanen's
description of the Halonen-Putin conversation matches that
given to Embassy Tallinn. It is not clear to the Finns,
however, whether Putin did intend to admit that an occupation
took place, or whether this was some sort of rhetorical
flourish intended to deflect the issue. Putin may have
wished to call into question the definition of "occupation,"
or the legitimacy of its application in this instance. In
any case, said Viinanen, "He didn't say flat out that it
5. (U) Other aspects of the Halonen-Putin meeting are