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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07REYKJAVIK20
2007-01-26 15:55:00
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Embassy Reykjavik
Cable title:  

ICELAND: AFGHANISTAN AND KOSOVO VIEWS IN ADVANCE OF NATO

Tags:   PREL  NATO  KPKO  AF  YI  HU  IC 
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VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRK #0020/01 0261555
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 261555Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3132
INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE 0011
RUEHUP/AMEMBASSY BUDAPEST IMMEDIATE 0003
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0074
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 0239
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE 0048
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L REYKJAVIK 000020 

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

DEFENSE FOR OASD/ISP (J. HURSCH AND J. KELSO)
EUCOM FOR COL FRANKLIN AND LTC GREEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2017
TAGS: PREL NATO KPKO AF YI HU IC
SUBJECT: ICELAND: AFGHANISTAN AND KOSOVO VIEWS IN ADVANCE OF NATO
MINISTERIAL

REF: A. STATE 7434


B. STATE 4834

C. STATE 5652

D. B. EVANS EMAIL 1/22/07

E. 06 KABUL 5855

F. 06 REYKJAVIK 431

Classified By: Amb. Carol van Voorst for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L REYKJAVIK 000020

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

DEFENSE FOR OASD/ISP (J. HURSCH AND J. KELSO)
EUCOM FOR COL FRANKLIN AND LTC GREEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2017
TAGS: PREL NATO KPKO AF YI HU IC
SUBJECT: ICELAND: AFGHANISTAN AND KOSOVO VIEWS IN ADVANCE OF NATO
MINISTERIAL

REF: A. STATE 7434


B. STATE 4834

C. STATE 5652

D. B. EVANS EMAIL 1/22/07

E. 06 KABUL 5855

F. 06 REYKJAVIK 431

Classified By: Amb. Carol van Voorst for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) Summary: Iceland is supportive of USG goals for the NATO
informal ministerial on Afghanistan and Kosovo on January 26. The
Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) Permanent Secretary outlined for
Ambassador the Icelandic government's plans to increase peacekeeping
deployments to Afghanistan, including discussions with Hungary on PRT
deployments. Iceland is also considering contributions to law and
order and counter-narcotics programs, and at the ministerial will
confirm the Prime Minister's Riga pledge of NATO airlift funding.
Ambassador also explored ways to raise public awareness of Iceland's
contributions in Afghanistan, including the idea of a visit to the
country by the Prime Minister after parliamentary elections here in
May. On Kosovo, Iceland intends to support the Ahtisaari plan but
will wait until an opportune time to say so publicly. The MFA
expects that a Nordic-Baltic Political Directors' meeting in February
will result in a consensus to support the plan. End summary.


2. (SBU) In the Foreign Minister's absence, Ambassador called on MFA
Permanent Secretary Gretar Mar Sigurdsson on January 22 to present
USG thoughts ahead of the NATO informal ministerial later this week.
Foreign Minister Valgerdur Sverrisdottir, who will represent Iceland,
is traveling in Europe ahead of the meeting.


3. (SBU) Regarding Afghanistan, Ambassador thanked Sigurdsson for
Iceland's contributions in Afghanistan, particularly the
well-regarded Mobile Liaison Observation Team assigned to the
Provincial Reconstruction Team in Chaghcharan (ref E). At the same

time, she noted that the pressure is on for NATO to deliver this
spring, and that all Allies must take a hard look at what more they
can offer. Sigurdsson said it was good to hear that the Icelandic
team is appreciated and noted that despite the team's planned
withdrawal in April 2007, some personnel currently assigned to the
PRT will remain there in other roles. When the Ambassador suggested
that Iceland might find another niche for itself in pairing up with
NATO members who were to lead their first PRTs, the PermSec agreed,
noting that Iceland has just begun discussions with Hungary on
possible cooperation in a Hungarian-led PRT, with two specific
projects (one of which centers on police training) under discussion.


4. (SBU) Sigurdsson passed Ambassador a copy of his talking points
on Afghanistan for recent bilateral security talks in the UK, noting
that the document gave a good preview of what FM Sverrisdottir would
have to present in Brussels this week. The document (scanned and
emailed to EUR/NB) outlines a planned increase of the total number of
Icelanders deployed to Afghanistan, though as Sigurdsson noted their
roles will shift to areas in which Iceland believes it has a "core
competency." (Note: it also confirms Prime Minister Geir Haarde's
pledge at Riga to fund airlift of personnel and supplies. End Note.)
Sigurdsson offered that this was in line with the FM's emphasis on
shaping Iceland's peacekeeping participation in ways that would be
able to be clearly understood and supported across Iceland's
political spectrum (ref F).


5. (C) Ambassador expressed appreciation for Iceland's continued
engagement and plans for increased support to Afghanistan, though she
cautioned that even "safe-sounding" roles such as midwife training
can be dangerous peacekeeping assignments. It could send misleading
signals to lead the public to believe that peacekeeping deployments
in unstable regions did not involve risk simply because Icelandic
participants did not wear uniforms or were unarmed. She urged the
government to explain clearly to the parliament and the public why
these missions were important to do despite acknowledged danger.
Continuing this theme, Ambassador suggested that the period following
Iceland's Althingi (parliament) elections this May might be an
excellent time for the Prime Minister (Haarde or his successor) to
visit Afghanistan to show support for Iceland's work there and raise
public awareness of the importance of Iceland's contribution to
Afghan development and stability. Sigurdsson enthusiastically
agreed, noting as well that it might go one better to send the
Althingi Foreign Affairs Committee, "which doesn't travel enough."
He noted that FM Sverrisdottir is making a concerted effort to engage
the Althingi on security and defense issues, including peacekeeping,
in an effort to bury lingering resentment of the cabinet's tendency

to unilateral control of foreign affairs.


6. (C) Along these lines, Sigurdsson said Iceland should and will
look to increase its participation in "traditional" PRT roles in the
coming years, possibly even to include having Icelanders under arms.
However, in the short term such deployments are not politically
tenable. The only way the MFA can elicit such support, he opined, is
by moving carefully and bringing the Althingi along at every step.
Ambassador acknowledged this point, and pushed the MFA to encourage
as much press coverage and high-level attention on Iceland and NATO's
work in Afghanistan as possible.


7. (SBU) On Kosovo, Ambassador noted the urgency of unified
international support for UN Special Representative Ahtisaari's plan
for final status. Sigurdsson agreed, and said the U.S. could expect
Iceland's support for the plan when the timing was appropriate. MFA
Political Director Bergdis Ellertsdottir noted in this vein that she
expected an upcoming Nordic-Baltic Political Directors' meeting to
produce a consensus of support for Ahtisaari. Sigurdsson opined that
perhaps the Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe (e-Pine) could be
a vehicle for coordinating support to Kosovo.


8. (C/NF) Comment: The GOI (and FM Sverrisdottir in particular) is
still wrestling with the problem of selling Afghan and other
peacekeeping operations to a skeptical public unaccustomed to seeing
its citizens in uniform or potentially at risk. Nonetheless, Iceland
will be supportive of NATO's goals in Afghanistan, and its
willingness to explore PRT cooperation with the Hungarians is a
welcome sign.

van Voorst