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Finland Surfaces in Wikileaks Exposé

Around 600 cables made public by the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks reportedly originated from the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki. On Monday, Wikileaks released about a quarter of a million classified U.S. documents to news outlets around the world.

Nainen lukee Wikileaks -sivustoa.
Wikileaks-sivuston mukaan Yhdysvaltain Helsingin-suurlähetystöstä on lähetetty 601 viestiä. Image: Tiina Jutila / YLE

On Tuesday, the first concrete reference to Finland was found in material compiled by the New York Times. According to the paper, an aide of former Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said China had warned Finland against receiving Uighur detainees from the Guantanamo Bay camp.

Diplomatic cables involving Finland mainly relate to Afghanistan and Iraq -- and specifically the 2003 leaks of confidential Finnish Foreign Ministry papers on Iraq. The documents also reportedly discuss foreign affairs and internal government issues, among other matters.

Veera Heinonen, Director of Communications at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, told YLE that the Foreign Ministry has been monitoring the Wikileaks affair since last week.

On Sunday evening, the Wikileaks site was hit by a denial of service attack which blocked the planned release of the mass of diplomatic communications. A number of newspapers, including the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel, on Monday published some of the Wikileaks material that they received in advance from the Wikileaks organisation.

Stubb: Leaks "Regrettable"

Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb has spoken out against the decision to leak the documents. On Monday, he said the publication of the documents could damage relations between the United States and other countries.

“It is regrettable that confidential information was leaked. This will not improve world stability.”

Stubb added that he does not foresee any problems arising from unpublished documents concerning Finland. However, he said he has not viewed the material.

”I support transparency and public diplomacy. However, some information between states can be sensitive. This is certainly a difficult situation,” he said.

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