Viewing cable 07REYKJAVIK85, NOMINATION TO SEND ICELANDIC BROADCASTER ON
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|07REYKJAVIK85||2007-03-28 15:03||2011-01-13 05:05||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Reykjavik|
VZCZCXYZ0023 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHRK #0085/01 0871533 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 281533Z MAR 07 FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3216 INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0016 RUEHNO/US MISSION NATO BRUSSELS
UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000085 SIPDIS SIPDIS SENSITIVE DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/NB; SCA/PPD, EUR/PPD, R E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: MARR NATO PGOV PREL OPRC KPAO AF IC SUBJECT: NOMINATION TO SEND ICELANDIC BROADCASTER ON US NATO TOUR IN APRIL REFS: Hodgson emails to Duguid/Pulaski/USNATO and USNATO 00184 ¶1. (SBU) Summary: The Icelandic Government plans to withdraw its Icelandic Crisis Response Unit (ICRU) from Chaghcharan, northern Afghanistan in late April, where it has played an essential part in the region's humanitarian missions since 2004. The withdrawal is part of a plan by the country's Foreign Minister to 'soften' the image of the country's peacekeeping unit by replacing some peacekeepers with development staff. The GOI is greatly influenced by public opinion, especially in the run-up to national elections this May. Post believes it is imperative at this time to shore up Iceland's support of NATO's ongoing mission in Afghanistan. Post is nominating one of the country's most influential broadcasters to participate in the upcoming USNATO opinion-maker tour in Brussels and Washington, D.C. to help explain the importance of NATO's reconstruction and security assistance mission to Afghanistan. End Summary. ¶2. (SBU) The GOI has come under renewed criticism by the opposition recently for its continued support of U.S. policy in Iraq, and to a lesser extent, U.S. and NATO policy in Afghanistan. It is essential to use the USNATO trips to educate Icelandic officials and journalists on the changing security threats of the 21st century, including NATO's mission in Afghanistan, and to demonstrate how the United States will abide by its commitment under the 1951 Defense Agreement and NATO accords to defend Iceland against external threats. ¶3. (SBU) To help explain why Iceland, a founding member of NATO, should continue to support NATO operations in Afghanistan and other trouble spots, post strongly recommends the inclusion of Jon Gudni Kristjansson, a highly-respected senior broadcaster and editor at Iceland's national broadcasting company, RUV-Radio, on the USNATO opinion-maker tour to Brussels and Washington, D.C. from April 13-19, 2007. ¶4. (U) Mr. Kristjansson is one of most experienced journalists in Iceland and was a print journalist for many years before becoming a news editor for RUV Radio in 1986. He is an editor/broadcaster for one of three current affairs programs at RUV Radio called "Spegillinn" or "The Mirror." The show is the oldest radio program in Iceland, and probably the most-listened to among the country's intellectuals. For the past few years, Mr. Kristjansson has focused his reporting on foreign affairs, especially conflict areas such as the former Yugoslavia. From 2001 - 2002, Mr. Kristjansson was assigned to the OSCE mission in Kosovo as a press and media officer. Before that, Mr. Kristjansson was the first Icelandic journalist to specialize on reporting on environmental issues. In short, Jon G. Kristjansson is an educated, experienced and well-respected journalist. ¶5. (U) Mr. Kristjansson would appreciate the opportunity to participate in the USNATO tour to receive first-hand information about the US and NATO missions in Afghanistan. Iceland has participated in those efforts for many years now, so the issue is of great significance and interest to the Icelandic public. Mr. Kristjansson believes the USNATO trip would deepen his understanding of the complex situation in Afghanistan, and would give him the opportunity to obtain on-the-record comments from US and NATO officials, which he would use in developing stories to send back to Iceland during his trip. ¶6. (U) Per USNATO's request (reftel), here is biodata for post's nominee: Full name: Jon Gudni Kristjansson Date and place of birth: November 28, 1949 in Akureyri, Iceland Citizenship: Icelandic Passport number: Nominee has applied for a new passport, and expects to receive it within days; post will supply passport number once it is issued E-mail: email@example.com Prior US-Government-sponsored travel: None Prior NATO travel: None English Comprehension: Excellent ¶7. (U) RUV Radio was established in 1930. Since its inception, it has been one of the most trusted media outlets in Iceland and the channel Icelanders turn to regularly for their news and current affairs programming. Listening numbers for RUV's radio news are phenomenal; audience figures for the main news hours rate as high as 40 percent of the population of 300,000. ¶8. (U) Post appreciates the efforts of the US Mission to NATO in organizing this important tour for journalists, and for its assistance in the nomination process. VAN VOORST