140030 2/5/2008 10:55 08HELSINKI45 Embassy Helsinki CONFIDENTIAL 08SECSTATE11025 VZCZCXRO9744 RR RUEHAG RUEHROV DE RUEHHE #0045 0361055 ZNY CCCCC ZZH R 051055Z FEB 08 FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4044 INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 0044 RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST 0563 RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 4117 RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 0064 RUEHLJ/AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA 0057 RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0130 RUEHPG/AMEMBASSY PRAGUE 0988 RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 4679 C O N F I D E N T I A L HELSINKI 000045
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2018 TAGS: PREL, KMPI, SY, FI SUBJECT: FINNISH RESPONSE - CONDEMNING ARREST AND ARRAIGNMENT OF SYRIAN DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS
REF: SECSTATE 11025
Classified By: POLCHIEF GREG THOME FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)
1. (C) PolChief delivered subject demarche Feb. 5 to Deskoff for Syria and Lebanon Keijo Karjalainen. Karjalainen thanked us for the detailed information on the plight of Raid Seif and the Damascus Delcaration National Council members. He said that the GoF is now following these cases closely within the EU. The resident EU Ambassadors met in Damascus and agreed that the Syrians' handling of this issue was abusive and disturbing. All EU capitals have received the French draft demarche, and the GoF supports the "stronger" language that it includes. However, Kajalainen reported, there is division within the EU regarding the French proposal to use equally strong language in a public statement. Several EU members -- Finland included -- are concerned that a strong public statement could jeopardize the safety of Damascus group members. Finland has not reached a national position on this aspect of the question, however, and is likely to support EU consensus.
2. (C) Meanwhile, Karjalainen noted, Finland plans no bilateral contacts with the SARG until Sept. or Oct., when a Director-General level delegation will visit Syria and Lebanon. WARE