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Viewing cable 07REYKJAVIK85, NOMINATION TO SEND ICELANDIC BROADCASTER ON

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
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:  jongk@ruv.is 
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