FINLAND

STATEMENT BY
H.E.MR. ERKKI TUOMIOJA

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF FINLAND
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF 57TH ORDINARY SESSION
14 September 2002, New York


Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary-General,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

One year after the terrible attacks of September the 11th we commemorate the innocent victims of these crimes. The best way we can honour their memory is by taking up and acting upon all the many-faceted challenges that terrorism and other threats pose for human security.

The world has changed irrevocably, although we cannot as yet say exactly how. We do not even know if our immediate reaction a year ago has been successfully put into use to making the world a better and safer place to live.

Afghanistan is no longer a base for global terrorism and joint efforts to uproot terrorist networks are making progress, but the threat of new attacks has not been eliminated.

At some stage we will also reach the limits of what can be done through military force and police action to stop terrorism. Even where the use of military force is clearly necessary and justified, as it is against Al Qaeda and the Taleban, it is never a sufficient answer. In Afghanistan we are now faced with the need to use a full-range of civilian crisis management capabilities as well as a long-term commitment to reconstruction and the development of a stable and drug-free economy and to root democracy and respect for human rights in a country, which has suffered from war and strife for decades. And Afghanistan is only one of many places in today's world where such a commitment from the international community is needed.

We must also come to grips with the conditions in which some people can regard even terrorism as justified. To say this does not imply any understanding for indiscriminate terrorism. Terrorism is a crime the perpetrators of which must be brought to justice irrespective of their motives.

It is vitally important to underline the need to strengthen the rule of law. When terrorists attack democracy, humanity and justice we should not nor cannot fight it with means that are in conflict with these basic values that the terrorists are attacking. It is time to review frankly the measures taken after September the 11th and to rectify any excesses, which are not acceptable in any society, which is based on freedom and justice.

The creation of the International Criminal Court has been in gestation for many years and can be regarded as one of the major achievements of the United Nations. It was not primarily created to deal with terrorism but the importance of the ICC has obviously grown, not diminished, after September the 11th. The ICC is a long-standing goal of Finland and the European Union and we must not allow it to be undermined. The ICC must not become an issue of international dispute. We must safeguard it as an effective and independent judicial institution, so that we can convince those states that remain outside it to join us in making it truly universal.

Mr. President,

Terrorism is only one of many new threats to our security that are no longer linked to the threat of traditional war between nation states. In a world where our entire national defence policies as well as efforts to build collective security have been based on the need to wage or deter traditional war we need new and fresh thinking.

It is not only that military power has become partly impotent to deliver security. It is also evident that we cannot contain these threats through isolation or by acting unilaterally.

The United Nations and its Security Council have global responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Human lives are equally valuable all over the world. People in crisis situations need the protection and action of the international community. Individual and minor crises can turn into major threats to international peace and security. Member States must give the United Nations the wherewithal that is necessary for meaningful action in preventing crises, managing conflicts and building peace after conflicts. Action needs true commitment to multilateralism, which must exceed national interests and unilateralism. Multilateralism cannot be exercised la carte whenever convenient. Global interests require global action.

An undeniable success story of the UN history is the organisation's peacekeeping activities. Countless lives have been saved by the UN peacekeeping operations. But we know, too, that possibly even more lives have been lost if and when the UN has not been able or allowed to operate. The reason for inoperability has been the lack of political will or prevalence of national interests in the Security Council. I would like to reiterate that the Security Council is mandated to act on behalf of all Member States.

The concept of peacekeeping has evolved considerably during the existence of the UN from purely military operations into versatile, complex and continuous efforts that extend in some cases to nation building. A growing element in them is civilian crisis management. This should be further strengthened. Crisis management in its whole continuum should also be based on broad cooperation and compatibility. Present complex crises are often too demanding for any one organisation to deal with. All regional organisations should work closely together and with the United Nations in trying to solve crises all over the world. The European Union is in close cooperation with the United Nations and other organisations sharing the burden of maintaining international peace and security.

The Middle East remains the region where our concerns are most concentrated. The conflict between Israel and Palestine has, if anything, worsened. We support all efforts of the Quartet to get the peace process working again on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions. We support the Palestinian Administration's effort at reform, which we have rightly demanded must be undertaken, and we expect a hundred percent effort from it to stop all terrorist activities. At the same time the Palestinians must be given the perspective of a clear commitment and a timetable for the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state. The Palestinian Administration has to be given the resources and conditions where it can fulfil the requirements of what the international community demands of it, and what the Palestinian people have the right to expect.

Without progress in the Middle East peace process any military action in the region can have extremely dangerous and unforeseen consequences. It is imperative that efforts to get Iraq to abide unconditionally with all the resolutions of the Security Council remain the responsibility of the United Nations.

Mr. President,

When the United Nations was founded the world population was 2.4 billion. Now we are more than six billion, and the population growth, while slowly levelling off, will bring that number to at least 10 billion before stabilising.This is a huge challenge for the mankind. We have only a few decades, at most, to bring our economic, production and societal models to conform to the exigencies of sustainable development. But this is not only an environmental challenge. Nations and peoples must learn to live and act together in an ever shrinking world where no one can manage on his own.

Mr. President,

In a rapidly globalising world the need for keen international cooperation becomes all the more evident. Decisions taken in one part of the world often have much more effect elsewhere. This can quickly lead to an ever-widening gap and fragmentation between countries and within countries. Comprehensive implementation of the Millennium Declaration will make an important impact on narrowing this gap. A positive example of the means we can employ to meet the goals of the Declaration is the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) that demonstrates the genuine desire of the African nations to take responsibility over their future. Finland attaches great importance to the implementation of NEPAD.

Globalisation has wealth-creating powers through international division of labour and more effective use of resources. It increases individual freedom and makes societies more open. But, on the other hand, it is incontestable that globalisation does not benefit everybody or every country in an equal manner. Globalisation can bring along

risks and threats to the environment, core labour standards and trade unions and challenge national and minority cultures. It can also be socially damaging. On the whole, however, globalisation is not only something inevitable but also potentially positive. The United Nations has an important role in managing and harnessing globalisation to benefit all. We, the Member States, must fully participate in this work.

Thank you, Mr. President.