Statement by Minister Tuomioja at the Meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL

Statement by H.E. Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland at the Meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, Brussels, December 3, 2014.

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Mr. Chairman, Dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Defeating ISIL requires a comprehensive long-term strategy and extensive international cooperation and we are pleased to be part of this. We appreciate the role of the US in mobilizing the international community against the threat of ISIL.

Our contribution consists of development assistance and humanitarian aid to the region. The neighboring countries of Syria and Iraq hosting millions of refugees need support and solidarity from the international community.

Since 2011, Finland has given more than 31 million euros of humanitarian assistance to the region. Our development assistance to Syria and the neighboring countries amounts up to 12 million euros this year only and has been increasing substantially. We have just decided to allocate an additional 4 million euros to the UNHCR's operations in Iraq and Turkey.

Alleviating the human suffering caused by ISIL is necessary but also frustrating as long as actions of ISIL continue to create new victims and more refugees. We need to build the capacity of the security sector in Iraq to resist and defeat ISIL; and Finland is currently exploring the possibility of participating in the security sector training in Iraq.

Our goal must be to create the conditions in which all the refugees and displaced persons can voluntary and safely return to their homes with international assistance for their reconstruction as necessary.

Political efforts are at the heart of addressing the root causes of the ISIL. We are pleased with the positive signs concerning the political development in Iraq to build inclusivity and national unity. We also hope to see progress towards political transition in Syria. We give our unwavering support to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in his efforts to create ground for a political solution to the conflict. 

In our efforts to defeat ISIL, durable and long-term emphasis is needed to strengthen the rule of law and its components such as democratic institutions, independent judiciary, good governance and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. Countering terrorist ideologies will be vital.

We cannot stress enough the importance of gender equality and empowerment of women. Women's full participation in politics and in the matters of peace and security is a priority in all efforts to build a truly inclusive and functioning society. 

Finally, countering the phenomenon of foreign fighters, a number of measures are needed, such as the exchange of information and sharing of best practices, as well as capacity building in border management and security. Furthermore, we need to take action that confronts extremist ideas that underlie terrorism and violent extremism - also in our own countries.

Thank you.