Viewing cable 07REYKJAVIK154, ICELAND NOT IN FAVOR OF CLUSTER MUNITIONS BAN, BUT IS
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|07REYKJAVIK154||2007-05-22 07:07||2011-01-13 05:05||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Reykjavik|
VZCZCXYZ0000 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHRK #0154 1420749 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 220749Z MAY 07 FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3312 INFO RUEHXP/NATO POST COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0014 RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 0003 RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0152 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0027 RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000154 SIPDIS SIPDIS DEPT FOR PM/WRA, EUR/NB E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: MOPS NATO PARM PREL IC SUBJECT: ICELAND NOT IN FAVOR OF CLUSTER MUNITIONS BAN, BUT IS CLOSELY FOLLOWING NORWEGIAN POSITION Ref: State 66596 ¶1. (SBU) Summary: Iceland has not taken a final position on the cluster munitions issue, but is unwilling to support a complete ban on their use. However, due to regional solidarity and a desire to make disarmament a key issue in Iceland's campaign for a UN Security Council seat, the GOI is inclined to support Norwegian efforts. Further engagement on the NATO-related impacts of such a ban and USG views on the way forward through the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) may bear fruit in helpfully shaping the GOI position. End summary. ¶2. (SBU) PolOff presented reftel points on May 18 to Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs Ambassador for Arms Control Issues Petur Thorsteinsson. Asked directly whether or not Iceland favored a total ban on cluster munitions, Thorsteinsson said that was not currently the Icelandic Government's position. However, Iceland is looking closely at the Norwegian Government's stance on the matter, and is still studying the Lima text. ¶3. (SBU) PolOff pointed out to Thorsteinsson that a ban on cluster munitions -- the effective result of the provisions of the current draft -- would have an immediate negative impact on NATO operations and other joint military activities which Iceland has expressed its support for. Thorsteinsson expressed his appreciation for USG views on the topic, and asked for clarification as to what process the U.S. would like to see go forward in the CCW. He added that it had been the GOI's understanding that the slow pace of CCW movement on the issue was at least in part due to a USG desire to see no action taken regarding cluster munitions. PolOff replied that the U.S. is prepared to see a negotiating mandate in the CCW to deal with the issue, vice the current discussion mandate. ¶4. (SBU) By way of background, Thorsteinsson noted that Iceland's candidacy for a UN Security Council seat in 2009-2010 is in part based on the idea that Iceland, as a nation without a military of its own, could help drive action on disarmament and arms control. As such, the MFA felt "obligated" to take some action on the cluster munitions issue. That said, he also allowed that Iceland needed to take military realities into account by virtue of its NATO membership, and looked forward to hearing the views of other NATO allies on the topic. ¶5. (SBU) Comment: Post believes that two related dynamics are at work here. In the first case, as Thorsteinsson alluded to, Iceland is looking for issues to "make its own" as part of its campaign for a UNSC seat. Disarmament and weapons abatement mesh nicely with Iceland's record of deploying explosive ordnance disposal personnel to crisis zones, making the cluster munitions issue appealing. Secondly, there is the matter of Nordic consonance on foreign policy issues, whereby the MFA feels pressure to support initiatives by other Nordic countries in the absence of overriding domestic factors. As Iceland has no military, there are few voices within the GOI that will argue for -- or be naturally inclined to agree with -- the military necessity of cluster munitions, meaning the default policy will likely be one of supporting Norwegian efforts. In response, Post will increase our engagement with those actors more open to NATO-related concerns on a cluster munitions ban. Additionally, Post would welcome further points on the USG approach to dealing with the issue in the CCW. VAN VOORST