Updated: 07-Dec-2001 NATO Speeches

7 Dec. 2001


by Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs of Finland
Mr. Jaakko Laajava
at the EAPC Foreign Ministers Meeting

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I will focus on two issues, the international campaign against terrorism and the pending reform and review of the EAPC and the Partnership for Peace.

On terrorism.

The dramatic events of September 11 were intended by their perpetrators to divide the world, to drive a wedge between civilisations. The opposite occured. It is unlikely that the international community was ever more united in its resolve to pursue a single cause — that to rid the world of the fear of terrorist action.

Finland joined the other EAPC-nations in a strong condemnation of the terrorist acts against the US in the statement of the EAPC meeting on 12 September. It is our firm belief that the EAPC should have, and can have, a pragmatic and useful role to play in this context in close cooperation with NATO. This is the background of the Discussion Paper Finland and Sweden presented on EAPC and terrorism, which now has been incorporated into the EAPC Action Plan for 2002 - 2004. It is important that the EAPC proved its continued relevance as an instrument for cooperation and consultation in the Euro-Atlantic area in meeting this new challenge to security. In this, as well as other areas of policy, the EAPC should reflect the development in the concept of security within the Alliance itself.

The Finnish-Swedish proposal contained the idea of establishing a Trust Fund for the benefit of stability in Central Asia and Caucasus. The elaboration of this idea, which is not a novelty, has begun promptly. I am in the position to give an advance pledge of financial support by Finland to this fund, once its
modalities have been completed.

Finland welcomes the successful outcome of the Bonn meeting on Afghanistan. We hope that the people of Afghanistan could soon start to rebuild their nation. Finland gives its full support to these efforts and is providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

On the future of the EAPC and the Partnership

NATO's enlargement, the development of the EAPC and Partnership for Peace and NATO's developing relations with other nations, including with the Russian Federation, are key factors that influence the security landscape of Europe and the transatlantic relationship. We welcome the efforts to improve cooperation between NATO and Russia.

NATO's open door policy is a dynamic element in European security. I would like to comment, in particular, the situation on the Baltic Sea region. Finland supports the right of the Baltic states to join NATO. The consolidation of international position of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is in line with
Finland's security interests.

For Finland it is important that the Alliance approaches these major future challenges in an inclusive manner.

The fundamentals and principles of the Partnership remain sound. It is for us to ensure the continued relevance and viability of the EAPC/PfP after the Prague Summit in 2002. One way of doing this is to extend, in an innovative manner, the culture of consultation embodied in the Political-Military Framework beyond NATO-led PSO-operations to other areas of cooperation.

We pledge our full cooperation in these efforts.

Thank you Mr. Chairman

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