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E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/15/2016 TAGS: PREL, MARR, MOPS, NATO, PINS, AG, FI SUBJECT: DELIVERING ON NATO'S PROMISE TO AFGHANISTAN - FINNISH RESPONSE
REF: STATE 186256
Classified By: POLCHIEF GREGORY THOME FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D).
1. (SBU) PolChief delivered subject demarche to Kimmo Lahdevirta, Director of the Finnish MFA's Office of Security Policy. Lahdevirta expressed appreciation for US efforts to keep partners informed as the Riga NATO Summit approaches, and welcomed the fact that Afghanistan will feature prominently on the Summit agenda.
2. (C) Lahdevirta noted that Finland's commitment to the NATO/ISAF mission in Afghanistan remains solid "through the end of 2008 and beyond." Finland currently has about 105 troops in five locations in Northern Afghanistan, with the bulk of them serving in the Swedish-led PRT at Mazar-al- Shariff and the Norwegian-led PRT at Meymenah. The only change Finland is currently contemplating would be to increase its forces at those two locations by consolidating the small numbers of soldiers it currently has remaining in Kabul and two other locations. No decision on such a move has yet been made, and it would be carefully coordinated with other ISAF partners.
3. (C) Lahdevirta also commented on the issues of caveats and PRT leadership. He noted that Finland has no formal or informal caveats, and expected no changes to this posture. As for PRT leadership, Lahdevirta said that Finland currently has no intention of taking over leadership of either of the PRTs in which it participates, mainly because both Sweden and Norway have renewed their commitments. However, Finland remains open to the idea of leading a PRT, perhaps in 2009. HYATT