US embassy cable - 06OSLO77

NORWAY GOES SOFT ON CUBA

Identifier: 06OSLO77
Wikileaks: View 06OSLO77 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Oslo
Created: 2006-01-24 14:04:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL NO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L OSLO 000077 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2016 
TAGS: PREL, NO 
SUBJECT: NORWAY GOES SOFT ON CUBA 
 
REF: 05 OSLO 1730 
 
Classified By: Pol/E Counselor Mike Hammer for reasons 1.4 b and d. 
 
1.  (C) Summary.  Foreign Minister Stoere has announced a 
significant change to Norway's Cuba policy.  Norway will no 
longer invite Cuban dissidents to its annual Constitution Day 
(May 17) event held at the Norwegian Embassy in Havana.  This 
reversal was prompted by Norway's desire to re-gain direct 
access to the Cuban government, which had cut them off for 
their inclusion of the dissidents.  This disturbing decision 
is a further signal of Labor's interest in keeping its 
Socialist Left Party government coalition partner happy.  End 
summary. 
 
Norway Caves in the "Canape War" 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
2.  (C) On January 24 Foreign Minister Stoere announced 
publicly that Norway will change its previous policy and will 
no longer invite Cuban dissidents to its May 17 "Constitution 
Day" celebration.  The left-of-center government hopes this 
decision will get Norway back into the good graces of the 
Cuban government and enable direct dialogue.  For the last 
several years the previous Norwegian center-right government 
invited Cuban dissidents to its annual May 17 event.  This 
practice in effect had caused them to be cut off from any 
direct dialogues with the Cuban government. 
 
3.  (U) FM Stoere is quoted as saying, "I have assessed that 
there are other days of the year than May 17 to talk to, and 
work with, the Cuban opposition.  Now we are changing this, 
and resume dialogue with the Cuban authorities, like many 
other countries have also done."  He went on to emphasize 
that the Norwegian government still will have contact with 
groups critical of Castro in Cuba, but "we must also do this 
in a way that makes it possible to have a dialogue with the 
Cuban government." 
 
4.  (C) Many on the political left have been pushing for this 
change in Norway's Cuba policy and welcomed Stoere's 
announcement.  Labor organization (LO) leader Gerd-Liv Valla 
had called for Norway to reverse its "Canape War" policy last 
December and has now expressed her approval of the new 
policy.  Likewise, politicians from the far-left Socialist 
Left Party welcomed the government's decision. 
 
Questioning US Sanctions 
- - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
5.  (U) FM Stoere went on to say that "Erik Solheim 
(International Development Minister) and I think it is 
important to examine the whole sanction instrument to see 
whether it is an effective instrument, when it can be used, 
and under what circumstances."  Stoere added that, "the U.S. 
has taken an attitude that over time, in relation to Cuba, we 
think leads to unreasonable consequences for the people of 
Cuba.  What we are doing now, brings us in line with the 
other EU countries on this question." 
 
Comment 
- - - - 
 
6.  (C) With Norway's new left-of center government 
celebrating its first one-hundred days in office, we see yet 
another example that the tides are changing in Norway's 
foreign policy.  FM Stoere's comments demonstrate a 
significant change in the earlier direction Norway was 
pursing in Cuba.  As we have previously reported, we were 
skeptical about how hard this government would press to 
advance democracy in Cuba, but this sudden change goes far 
beyond our earlier concerns. 
 
7.  (C) Comment continued.  The abrupt change of policy is 
certain to upset those at the working-level in the MFA's 
Latin American Section as they have been pursing the "Canape 
War" policy with steady determination to prove Norway's 
commitment to promoting democracy and freedom around the 
globe.  End comment. 
Visit Oslo's Classified website: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/oslo/index.cf m 
 
WHITNEY 
 
 
NNNN 

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