|Wikileaks:||View 06OSLO77 at Wikileaks.org|
|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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