|Updated: 29-Jun-2004||NATO Speeches|
29 June 2004
by Tarja Halonen, President of the Republic of Finland
We have just witnessed the completion of two major parallel enlargement processes in Europe -one of the European Union and one of NATO. Finland warmly welcomes both enlargements. They have been significant for both new and old member states as well as for the enlarged communities as whole. It is important that these doors stay open also in the future.
The establishment of cooperation arrangements between the EU and NATO reflects the willingness of the international community to closely work together. The European Union has developed its crisis management capabilities in an active way. By taking over the lead of the Bosnian operation from NATO the EU is acting in a responsible way and is ready for burden-sharing. International organisations should respond to the demanding challenges rather together.
The Nato Partnership cooperation has now been practised already for 10 years. Through it we have been able to strengthen stability and democracy in the whole Euro-Atlantic area. The Alliance together with Partners - has tried to find answers to the new challenges. One important and very welcome achievement is the endorsement of NATO's Action Plan against Trafficking in Human Beings.
Finland supports the proposals to further develop the Euro-Atlantic co-operation taking into account the needs of different Partners. We have actively contributed to this process and we are ready to do so also in the future. Efforts to counter terrorism and weapons of mass destruction especially require this kind of international cooperation.
Finland considers close cooperation with NATO to be very important, We participate actively in NATO-Jed crisis management operations. Finland's contribution to KFOR has been significant We have also put special emphasis on other stabilization activities in Kosovo and the whole region of the Western Balkans.
Finland considers NATO's activities in the Civil Emergency Planning sector useful and very important also in the EAPC-context We will host the biannual plenary meeting of the Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee (SCEPC) in the EAPC-format in Helsinki in the spring
Civilian crisis management is essential in solving crises and indeed crucial in turning societies into functioning democracies. This is also important when preparing ourselves for the prevention of future threats.
ISTANBUL 29™ JUNE 2004
I wish to thank the Government of Turkey for the hospitality and excellent arrangements for this important Summit in Istanbul.
Strengthening security is both a key issue and a precondition for economic and social development in Afghanistan. NATO has a central task in executing the UN-mandated ISAF operation. The success of ISAF is a challenge for us all.
I congratulate President Karzai for performing his demanding and responsible duties and I wish him success in strengthening democracy, the rule of law, tolerance and human rights, with special regard to women and girls. The international community is committed to maintaining security and stability in Afghanistan and to supporting reconstruction.
The success of the upcoming elections is crucial for the future of Afghanistan. For elections to be free and fair progress in the disarmament process is needed. Constructive participation and media visibility of the different political groups is accessary in the election campaign. In order to succeed adequate security measures by the Afghan Government and the international community are required.
Finland tries, for its own part, to give its contribution to the international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. Finland has sent a CIMIC Unit and staif officers to help ISAF in Kabul and firemen to the Kabul airport. We intend to further Strengthen our contribution to ISAF by participating in a new PRT-team in Maimana in northern Afghanistan.
The strengthening of security and effective reconstruction mutually complement and reinforce each other. I want to highlight the importance of measures to improve living conditions of the people also in the southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan. The enlargement of ISAF would be important for such efforts.
Afghanistan is one of the most significant recipients of Finnish bilateral and multilateral development aid. Finland supports also in the future demining activities and monitoring of illicit crop production. We also support the improvement of the health and environmental sector in Afghanistan. Finland allocates funds to the national development budget of Afghanistan and we also give long-term reconstruction aid.