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News, 5/16/2011

Stubb and Kevin Rudd of Australia believe that Afghanistan will calm down

Afghanistan, the Middle East, the EU, China and Russia as well as Team Finland’s world championship in ice hockey figured prominently in the Monday morning meeting between the Finnish and Australian foreign ministers. The global events giving the most cause for concern at present are Syria and Libya.

Finland’s gold medal in ice hockey animated the meeting between Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd held in Helsinki on Monday. Rudd congratulated Finland on the championship and for the benefit of his colleague from Down Under, Stubb compared the gold medal in ice hockey to winning the championship in rugby.

The ministers praised bilateral relations between Finland and Australia, saying they were so good that there was no need to talk about them much. Rudd also thanked Finland for the country’s active role in international organisations, such as the UN. Photo: Eero KuosmanenThe ministers praised bilateral relations between Finland and Australia, saying they were so good that there was no need to talk about them much. Rudd also thanked Finland for the country’s active role in international organisations, such as the UN. Photo: Eero Kuosmanen

 

The most important matters discussed at the meeting concerned topical issues in world politics, such as the EU, Russia, China, the Middle East and climate change.

The foreign ministers were especially concerned about the situation in Syria and Libya.

“The international community has made it clear to Gaddafi that it is time to go,” Rudd stated.

Both ministers were confident that Afghanistan will calm down. Foreign Minister Rudd said that clear progress has taken place in Afghanistan, but stabilisation of the country calls for security, training of the country’s own security forces, economic transformation and political reconciliation.

Rudd pointed out, however, that Osama bin Laden’s death has not eradicated the threat of terrorism from the world. The next year in Afghanistan is likely to be difficult and violent.

“It is important that terrorists are brought to justice. It is important for the international community to track down terrorists although it may take a while. Osama bin Laden’s death was a necessary conclusion to that long-standing effort to bring him to justice for the terrorist strikes.”

Stubb stated that Finland’s policy on Afghanistan remains unchanged.

“Responsibility is transferred to the Afghans step by step and the international transition will begin in 2014,” Stubb said.

During his visit to Finland, Rudd is attending the UN High-level Panel on Global Sustainability being held in Helsinki.

Reduction of poverty and combating climate change go hand in hand, Rudd said ahead of the Panel.

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Updated 5/17/2011

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