Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja: Finland prepared to participate in UN-led non-military missions in Iraq

Press Release

Responding to a statement by the Centre party chairperson Anneli Jäätteenmäki in the newspaper Kaleva Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja says that the fact that the Finnish government is prepared to discuss humanitarian assistance and reconstruction in a post-war Iraq does not imply Finnish support for military action. Finland has consistently emphasised the key role of the UN and the priority of a peaceful solution when efforts to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction have been made and has given its support to the UN Security Council resolution 1441 mandating the current arms inspections in Iraq and the earlier resolutions on Iraq.

Finland has not made a decision to participate in missions of humanitarian assistance, reconstrution or peacekeeping which the Iraq crisis might result in. On request, the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy has, however, investigated the Finnish capabilities for participation in such missions. As a member of the UN Finland is prepared to participate in UN-mandated and UN-led non-military missions.

The international community has made preparations for all options regarding the Iraq crisis and has done so consistently and responsibly. Preparations have been made by many UN aid organisations, such as the UN High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, which for months has been preparing for the influx of refugees after a possibly military attack. Finnish stance is also in consistence with other EU countries.