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Viewing cable 07REYKJAVIK154, ICELAND NOT IN FAVOR OF CLUSTER MUNITIONS BAN, BUT IS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
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