March 2006

06REYKJAVIK88 2006-03-16 17:05 2011-01-13 05:05 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Reykjavik

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRK #0088 0751706
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161706Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2631
INFO RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 0294
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0218
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 0114

UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000088

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/IPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAL IS IC
SUBJECT: ICELAND WILL NOT HOST HAMAS

REF: (A) STATE 37552, (B) REYKJAVIK 50

Post discussed ref A points with Icelandic MFA Head of
International Institutions Division Nikulas Hannigan March
¶16. Hannigan took note of U.S concerns about a Hamas
government. He assured us that Iceland has no plans to
receive any member of Hamas. Referring again to Arab
revulsion at the Mohammed cartoons (ref B), Hannigan quipped
that he did not believe Hamas planned any near-term visits
to countries with crosses on their flags. (Note: An off-
center cross is the chief feature of all Nordic flags. End
note.)

VAN VOORST

9.3.2006: Norway has no plans to receive Hamas

C O N F I D E N T I A L OSLO 000279

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/IPA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/09/2016

TAGS: PREL, EAID, PTER, NO, KPAL

SUBJECT: NORWAY HAS NO PLANS TO RECEIVE HAMAS

REF: SECSTATE 37552

Classified By: P/E Counselor Mike Hammer, Reason 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) We delivered reftel demarche to MFA Middle East

Office Director Joern Gjelstad on March 9. Gjelstad took

note of our comments and promised that he would convey our

message upward. Gjelstad said that Norway did not have

regular political level contact with Hamas; however, at the

local government level the Norwegian mission in Ramallah does

meet with Hamas officials regarding a Norwegian development

assistance programs to local Palestinian communities. These

meetings are characterized not by political discussions, but

are programmatic, focused on the distribution of Norwegian

aid and the progress of funded aid projects, and will

continue.

2. (C) Norway’s recent decision to follow the UN¥s terrorist

designation list instead of the EU’s does mean that Norway no

longer officially considers Hamas a terrorist organization.

Gjelstad assured us that this decision was taken to allow

Norway to better facilitate peace efforts in Sri Lanka (the

LTTE is listed as a terrorist organization by the EU, but not

the by the UN), not with a view toward establishing a future

relationship with Hamas. Gjelstad acknowledged that there is

no domestic legal reason for Norway not to meet with Hamas,

but this is a step that politically Norway does not envisage

at this time and Norway had no current plans to receive Hamas

at a senior or political level. He also assured us that

Norway would not initiate any political overture to Hamas

without close prior consultation with the US and other

western donors.

Visit Oslo’s Classified website:

http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/oslo/index.cf m

WHITNEY

21.03.2006: ANTI-ISRAEL CLAUSES – LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE

UNCLAS COPENHAGEN 000352

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O: 12958: N/A TAGS: ECON, PREL, ETRD, PHUM, IS, DA SUBJECT: ANTI-ISRAEL CLAUSES – LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE

1. (U) Summary: In the context of domestic Danish politics following the Mohammed cartoon crisis, it has become known that some Danish firms accept the use of anti-Israel clauses in trade agreements with certain Muslim countries. The government of Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, despite considerable irritation with Danish business for pressing the government to distance itself more clearly from the publication of the cartoons, joined the business community in downplaying the use and significance of anti-Israel clauses. Unlike the United States, Denmark has no legislation explicitly prohibiting the use of such clauses in trade agreements. End Summary.

2. (U) Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper which published the Mohammed cartoons, reported in late February that a handful of Danish firms have signed anti-Israel clauses when doing business in the Middle East. The story surfaced just when domestic political wrangling over the Mohammed cartoon crisis was escalating. On February 27, PM Fogh Rasmussen publicly accused broad circles in Danish corporations, culture and media of failing to support freedom of expression during the controversy. This opened a broad fissure between the government and business leaders, and exacerbated tensions between Fogh Rasmussen´s Liberal Party and its junior coalition partner, the staunchly pro- business Conservative Party. In this context, the allegations of craven Danish business practice, and the implication of government acquiescence, generated considerable public attention.

3. (U) The dairy producer Arla admitted having active contracts with clauses that no ingredients produced in Israel are used in the production of Arla´s exports to Arab countries and that shipments are not sent through Israel. Furthermore, it is clear that at least four Danish firms agreed to participate in some form of boycott of Israel in return for trade with Iraq in 2000-2001:

— Bruel & Kjaer, a manufacturer of sound and vibration equipment, signed a clause that its goods did not include any parts, raw materials, labor or capital of Israeli origin and that the goods did not pass through Israeli ports;

— The pharmaceutical producers Maquet and Leo Pharma signed clauses prohibiting trade or transport through Israel;

— Bukkehave, a firm supplying vehicles and spare parts to international organizations and companies working in developing countries, signed a clause to “abide by and comply in all respects with the rules and instructions issued from time to time by the Israel boycott office in Iraq.”

4. (U) These companies downplay the significance of the clauses. Arla states that despite signing the clauses, it has never boycotted Israel and trade with Israel has been increasing. Leo Pharma no longer maintains these clauses but says they were previously a condition for selling medicine in the Middle East. Leo Pharma has maintained regular trade with Israel despite the clauses. Bukkehave states that the agreement was signed at a local level.

5. (U) Post approached some of the main business organizations in Denmark for their views on the prevalence of anti-Israel clauses. According to the Confederation of Danish Industries (DI), the use of such clauses is limited at present and is diminishing in line with increasing Arab WTO membership. DI Director Joergen K. Hansen said that “the boycott has on several occasions been discussed in parliament. DI has always been opposed to this form of special restriction and has supported attempts to find a solution at the EU level.” DI paints a picture of an unofficial policy in some parts of corporate Denmark to sign the anti-Israel clauses but disregard them and continue trading with Israel, often through other subsidiaries in the group. Danish Shipowners´ Association official Ren Pihl Pedersen says the Danish shipping industry does not sign anti-Israel clauses and that “the problem has been on the decline for years and is almost non-existent at present.”

6. (U) Ambassador Svend Roed Nielsen of the MFA´s Danish Trade Council says that the anti-Israel clauses have a long history but are rarely used at present except in trade with Syria and Libya. “We have informed companies that the boycott is clearly violating international trade standards but there is no Danish law prohibiting the companies from signing the clauses,” Nielsen states.

7. (U) When asked by the Danish press for a public comment on the acceptance of anti-Israel clauses by Danish firms, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) provided the following standard reaction: “Agreeing to boycott Israel in exchange for business in the Arab world reinforces Arab racism against Israel, demonstrates highly unethical business practices. and may be in violation of WTO rules. Danish companies should be particularly sensitive to this at a time when they are being targeted as well with unfair boycotts.” In a follow-up comment to post, AIPAC´s Director of Media Affairs Joshua Block stated that “AIPAC sees the response as a pretty minor thing: a comment on something so basic as the Arab boycott.”

8. (SBU) Comment: It may not be wholly coincidental that this story of questionable Danish business practice in the Middle East emerged just as political waters were roiling over the Mohammed cartoon crisis. Post´s inquiries support the view that the acceptance by the Danish business sector of anti-Israel clauses in trade agreements is limited and diminishing. In cases where they have been signed, firms appear to ignore these clauses in practice. Despite the absence of legal prohibitions, neither the government nor the Confederation of Danish Industries offers support or comfort to firms that have entered into such arrangements. Post will continue to monitor the issue.

CAIN