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Finland Prepared to Contribute in the Peace-keeping Effort in Afghanistan

Finland Prepared to Contribute in the Peace-keeping Effort in Afghanistan

Remarks by Mr. Juha Harjula, Director General, Ministry of Defence of Finland at the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Defence Ministers session. Brussels, December 19, 2001.

Mr, Secretary General,

Distinguished Ministers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. The brazen terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on September 11 brought home to all of us the fact that the new threats and risks to our security are global in nature and serious in their consequences. It was reassuring to notice how quickly the transatlantic community rose to the new challenge. The following day, on September 12, as NATO invoked Article 5 of the Washington Treaty for the first time in its history, the EAPC closed ranks behind the United States and condemned the atrocities unconditionally. The EAPC has also taken steps to cooperate in combat against terrorism. Here, we are satisfied with the response from Allies and Partners alike to the suggestions Finland and Sweden have developed on the subject. While the military campaign against the terrorist network in Afghanistan is drawing to its close, much remains to be done to rebuild Afghan society in the aftermath of the war. For that effort, our political, economic and nation-building resources will certainly be needed. Also, further military resources will be required in the form of peace-keeping forces in Afghanistan. In this context, Finland is prepared to contribute up to a battalion of her forces in the second phase of the peace-keeping effort.

2. The NATO-led operations in the Balkans have been critical in creating stability and furthering the political process in the area. These operations continue to be vital. However, there are good grounds For arguing that the challenges and threats in the region have changed since the operations were launched. Therefore, Finland supports an overall review of the military command structure and the tasks of the SFOR and KFOR operations, with the objective of streamlining these operations in order to make a more efficient and flexible use of our collective assets in the regional setting. In the past year, good use has been made of the Political-Military Framework for NATO-led PfP operations (PMF). We believe that we should continue to build on that new and dynamic practice, and to make use of the PMF for consulting the Partners also on the overall study of the theatre-wide issues in the Balkans.

3. Finland notes with satisfaction the completion of PARP Ministerial Guidance 2001. The PARP process is especially important for countries like Finland, since, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication, we use that process to educate, train and equip all the forces we plan to use in any international crisis management operations, in which Finland decides to participate Therefore, we look forward to the Partnership Goal review/revalidation process to take place this coming spring. We have also offered the Finnish Defence Forces International Centre (FINCENT)] validated as a PfP Training Centre in July 2001, as the venue for training assessors for the OCC Assesssment and Feedback programme, which we consider a vital part of the concept of the Enhanced and more Operational Partnership.

4. Finland has acquired positive experience through the PARP process and through the crisis management operations in the field. Yet, the new challenges and threats place an ever-increasing demand on our forces' ability to work smoothly and efficiently with their Allied counterparts. Since the Washington Summit of 1999, the NATO Allies have developed their capabilities according to the guidelines set in the Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCJ), The Partnership Goals 2000 also reflected key areas of improvement identified in the DCI. For that reason, we would see it very useful if the Partners were, more fully than has been the case so far, to be kept abreast of developments in the DCI. The overall effect of such sharing of information would be a better Partner understanding of the military and technical needs of cooperation, with the result of enhanced interoperability.

5. The Prague Summit in November 2002 is approaching quickly. Finland welcomes the PfP Stocktaking effort to be carried out next year. The Partnership is now a fundamental task of the Alliance and it is an indispensable part of the network of relations between the Allies and Partners. In our view, it should continue to be so - analysed, re-evaluated, and revitalized - regardless of the number of aspirants that will be invited to negotiate their accession to NATO at Prague.

Thank you for your attention.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).