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Speeches, 12/5/2012

Speech by Foreign Minister Tuomioja at NATO-ISAF Meeting

Speech by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja at the Foreign Ministerial Meeting for countries participating in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in Brussels on 5 December.

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Mr. Secretary General,

• Afghanistan is at a turning point. The international community has been present in the country for over a decade. By mid-2013 we will be at a stage where Afghanistan’s own security authorities will have the lead for their country’s security.

• Finland remains firmly committed to support Afghanistan for the long term. The year 2015 will mark the start of a new phase in the stabilization process of Afghanistan. Our support will continue even when the military presence will be modified. Afghanistan will not be left alone.

• Finland is currently adjusting her military contribution to better support this transition process. The new Transition Support Unit that comprises of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Latvia will start at the beginning of 2013. We see this as a good development to support the ANSF. In the new structure, more than 50% of the Finnish contribution will be advisors and trainers. We plan to maintain this structure until summer 2014 and then start moving our focus to the post-ISAF concept and structure.

• While our role becomes more of a supportive one, we need to help Afghanistan to build sufficient and capable Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). We are pleased that ISAF nations have now started to outline the future model for the funding mechanisms of the ANSF. In this work, we should aim towards transparent and efficient funding mechanisms.

• Finland will do its part by continuing to financially support the ANSF. In Chicago, we raised our total funding to Afghan security authorities to 6 million Euros annually. It will be mainly channeled through the UNDP Trust Fund (LOTFA) and also through the new NATO mechanism which still needs to be established. In addition, we also place a lot of emphasis on supporting Afghanistan through a development funding.

• Finland will continue to support the security and stability of Afghanistan beyond 2014. We welcome the NATO-led Training, Advisory and Assistance mission in Afghanistan and plan to participate in it. Finland´s potential contribution to the mission could comprise of advisors, trainers, rule of law experts and support personnel.

• Also in the future, we will be relying on the Nordic framework, taking into account the possibilities for cooperation with other key partners. Our focus will continue to be in the Northern part of Afghanistan.

• We will also continue our strong involvement in the EU Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL).

Mr. Secretary General,

• Afghanistan has a lot of potential, but it will take time to build a stable and equal nation.

• Full and equal participation of women at all levels of society is vital to development, economic success and social stability. We need to integrate human rights and gender equality to the training of the Afghan security sector. Finland highly appreciates the step NATO has taken in appointing a Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security.

• We value the work at NATO to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1325. In September 2012 the government of Finland and the government of Afghanistan signed a memorandum of understanding on the Finnish support for the Afghan national 1325 resolution action plan.

• To ensure a more stable and prosperous future for Afghanistan, it is important that mutual commitments are kept. For Finland it is important that human rights, especially the rights of women, are respected.

Thank you.

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Updated 12/5/2012

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