Viewing cable 08STATE63686, U.S.-ICELAND SECURITY DIALOGUE MEETING, APRIL 30
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|08STATE63686||2008-06-12 20:08||2011-01-13 05:05||CONFIDENTIAL||Secretary of State|
VZCZCXYZ0002 RR RUEHWEB DE RUEHC #3686 1642053 ZNY CCCCC ZZH R 122043Z JUN 08 FM SECSTATE WASHDC TO RUEHRK/AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK 0000 INFO RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC 0000 RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 0000 RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 063686 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/12/2018 TAGS: IC NATO PGOV PREL SUBJECT: U.S.-ICELAND SECURITY DIALOGUE MEETING, APRIL 30 Classified By: Kurt Volker, Acting, EUR, Department of State. Reason 1.4 (b) and (d) ¶1. (C) Summary. U.S. and Icelandic officials April 30 reviewed Iceland,s defense developments and bilateral security cooperation at working-level Security Dialogue meetings in Washington, D.C. Iceland previewed creation of the Icelandic Defense Agency this year, its plan to host a high-level NATO seminar on the High North in January 2009, and NATO air policing, just begun with a French deployment at Keflavik. Representatives from the Department of Defense, Department of State, FBI, and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) discussed ongoing and potential areas for cooperation with Icelandic representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice and from the Prime Minister,s Office. Iceland offered to host follow-on discussions in Reykjavik next year. End Summary. Iceland,s New Defense Agency ---------------------------- ¶2. (C) Delegation Head, Ambassador and Director of the Icelandic MFA Defense Department Ambassador Thorir Ibsen said that the June launch of the Icelandic Defense Agency was intended to consolidate all defense-related matters formerly found in offices throughout the MFA into a single agency. The Defense Agency will be subordinate to the MFA's Defense Department and will execute Iceland,s defense activities while the Defense Department continues in its policy role. The Agency will serve as a framework for approaching issues related to security changes in the High North and will be responsible for operation of the Icelandic Air Defense System (IADS) radars and Iceland,s participation in NATO. ¶3. (C) Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister Sturla Sigurjonsson said the government will spend the next 3-4 years on coordination of the Defense Agency and after that on its evolution. Prior to the establishment of the Agency, there was no legal basis for the Icelandic government to perform any defense-related operations. Director of Police and Judicial Affairs at the Ministry of Justice Thorunn Hafstein said that creation of the Defense Agency was an important legal step that would offer the MOJ greater opportunities than ever before for coordination on Police, Coast Guard and search and rescue. Air Policing Cooperation ------------------------ ¶4. (C) Ibsen welcomed the upcoming U.S. deployment for Northern Viking air policing exercises set for September. Norway recently sent a team to provide air traffic control training in advance of the exercises. OSD Policy Office Director Todd Harvey said the United States is looking forward to the Northern Viking deployment and said DOD wants to foster closer cooperation and to enhance interoperability with a focus on IADS radar, air policing, and exercises. DOD noted that the final planning conference for Northern Viking will take place in Keflavik June 25-26. Radar Upgrades and Spare Parts Pricing -------------------------------------- ¶5. (C) Ibsen reported that FM Gisladottir had discussed IADS upgrades with DOD U/S Edelman when she met with him during her April 11 visit to Washington. OSD Todd Harvey said that U/S Edelman had recommended that Iceland seek NATO funding for upgrades through its security and investment program. Ibsen said that Iceland would support such an effort but was not willing to lead it, instead asking that the U.S. lead. Regarding pricing for spare parts Iceland wants to purchase to maintain existing IADS radar, Harvey noted that the overriding goal is to preserve the radars as fully functioning and able to serve their purpose. He said OSD was nearing the end of a pricing review for spare parts and hoped soon to have a final price. Ibsen emphasized the importance of coming to a conclusion as quickly as possible. Coast Guard Cooperation ------------------------- ¶6. (C) MOJ,s Hafstein pointed to the rapid increase in vessels transiting the region combined with dangerous sea conditions as a strong motivation for Iceland to pursue cooperation with the USCG. The traffic increase heightens the need for search and rescue (SAR) capabilities, maritime domain awareness, and &command of sea lanes.8 Hafstein said Iceland,s Coast Guard (ICG) enjoys a 24/7 link with USCG Boston and that cooperation is outstanding. ¶7. (C) Hafstein reported Iceland will chair the North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum (NACGF) beginning in September, calling it the most important maritime forum in which her agency participates. She said Iceland also supports creating Regional Maritime Security Operations Centers in the North Atlantic, separate from the NACGF. Iceland is willing to host such a center and would welcome USCG participation. ¶8. (C) USCG presented a draft MOU for Cooperation (a counterproposal in response to a draft presented by the ICG to the USCG last year). Hafstein welcomed the draft and reiterated Iceland,s desire to join the trilateral (Canada, UK, US) SAR MOU -- a request currently under review. Energy ------ ¶9. (C) Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister Sturla Sigurjonsson expressed concerns over developments in the High North affecting transport of energy resources and indicated uncertainty as to the degree to which NATO should focus on energy. EEB Stephen Gallogly said there is ongoing discussion in the USG, but the focus for energy discussions is still within IAEA rather than NATO. Iceland,s Ambassador to Washington Albert Jonsson commented on the considerable geothermal resources in the United States and noted Icelandic investment and cooperation in developing such projects in California. Russia ------ ¶10. (C) Sigurjonsson referred to Iceland,s longstanding good relations with Russia, calling it a neighbor. He reminded that &Iceland is a very small country that must take care in its approach to Russia.8 He nevertheless expressed some concern about the recent, more aggressive posture Russia has taken, in particular citing Russian long range aviation activity that has encroached on Iceland,s civil aviation space. ¶11. (C) Sigurjonsson said it was no coincidence that one of the initial Russian flights took place the day after NAS Keflavik closed and stated that the current situation is very different than that during the Cold War. Now flights are much closer to Iceland, and there is far denser civil aviation activity in the area than in the past. Sigurjonsson said Russian flights have come as close as 35 miles to Reykjavik and showed a graphic demonstrating a recent flight that had circumnavigated the country. While concerned that Russian motivations could include claiming a stake to the North Atlantic, he said that Iceland,s main worry is for the safety of civil aviation. Iceland does not see increased Russian LRA activity as a military threat. Committed to Afghanistan ------------------------ ¶12. (C) Ibsen said Iceland needs to better focus its contribution in Afghanistan, which currently comprises 14 non-combat troops supporting a PRT, ISAF HQ and Kabul airport operations, and added that that &funding is not yet clear.8 Ibsen said Iceland was glad to be joining Norway at the PRT in Meymaneh and indicated that it was also interested in assisting with police training. The government plans to unveil a three-year strategy for Afghanistan in June, which will spell out a longer term, more focused commitment. Iceland was pleased with the choice of Kai Eide as UN envoy in Afghanistan. Sigurjonsson noted that Iceland had previously pledged $1 million to the UK for heavy airlift which had not yet been used. Consequently, Iceland plans to transfer $500,000 to a UK-sponsored NATO helicopter fund. NATO Seminar on High North -------------------------- ¶13. (C) Sigurjonsson said Iceland is planning a NATO seminar for January 2009 and it wants to &make the High North a NATO issue.8 He reported that the NATO Secretary General will attend and Iceland is expecting high level participation from countries including Denmark, Norway and Canada. Iceland hopes also for good representation by the United States, though Sigurjonsson acknowledged that timing would be problematic. Planning for the meeting is being coordinated through staff at NATO HQ. Sigurjonsson asked for a POC at State with whom Iceland can work on developing the program. Sigurjonsson said Iceland plans to limit attendance to the NATO 26 because the &discussion would be different8 if broadened to include NATO partners (which would necessarily include Russia). Police Cooperation ------------------- ¶14. (C) MOJ Hafstein said a National Police Security Unit was created in January of 2007 and has since produced threat assessments on domestic terrorism -- which not surprisingly have been unalarming. ¶15. Hafstein asked for an assessment of the organized crime threat posed by increased Chinese and Russian immigration. FBI Eurasian Organized Crime Unit Chief Barry Braun cautioned that Russian money laundering could become a serious problem and that securing cooperation from the Russian government on information sharing could be challenging. Hafstein welcomed the possibility of sending staff to receive training from the FBI. ¶16. Participants in the Strategic Dialogue included: Iceland Amb. Thorir Ibsen, Director Defense Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs- Head of Delegation Amb. Sturla Sigurjonsson, Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister Ms. Thorunn J. Hafstein, Director of Police and Judicial Affairs, Ministry of Justice Amb. Albert Jonsson, Embassy of Iceland Mr. Fridrik Jonsson, Counselor, Defense Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Finnur Thor Birgisson, First Secretary, Embassy United States DOD Todd Harvey OSD/Policy Office Director Andrew Winternitz OSD/Policy Desk Officer DOS Judy Garber Deputy Assistant Secretary Bob Gilchrist Director, Office of Nordic and Baltic Affairs Marc Norman S/CT Mary Nash EUR/PRA Howard Solomon EUR/RUS Stephen Gallogly EEB/ESC/IEC Peter Shea EUR/RPM Paul Harrison EUR/RPM Cdr. Mark Skolnicki OES/OA (USCG Liaison) Capt. Mark Cawthorn INL/LP (USCG Liaison) Embassy Reykjavik Cdr. Patrick Geraghty A/DATT FBI Barry Braun Chief, Eurasian Organized Crime Unit USCG Sally Netter Office of International Affairs Lt. Tamara Wallen Legal Advisor, Office of Maritime and International Law RICE