Statement by Minister Timo Soini at the Security Council Open Debate

Statement by H.E. Mr. Timo Soini, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Security Council Open Debate
Maintenance of International Peace and Security:
Settlement of Conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa and Countering the Terrorist Threat in the Region
30 September 2015

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We live in an increasingly interdependent world. Security challenges emerging in one country affect us all. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the Security Council to maintain international peace and security. Of course, we all share the responsibility to respond to old and new security challenges. Inaction is not an option.

Today, the situation is unbearable in many parts of the Middle East and North Africa region. I want to commend and give my strong support to the UN mediation efforts in the crises in the region. The work of the UN Special Envoys and Representatives is highly appreciated in the conflict resolution.

Our primary focus should be on the root causes of conflicts.

Millions of young people are unemployed and lack future perspectives. This can lead to exclusion from the economic, social and political life. Unfortunately, terrorist organizations use discontent and marginalization for their benefit. Democracy, human rights and inclusive economic development are fundamental elements in creating stable societies.

The key word is inclusiveness. It is essential to use the full potential of the society especially when addressing difficult social problems. I want to highlight the importance of women's full participation in decision-making. I firmly believe that equal participation of both men and women is needed to reach sustainable peace.

Moreover, religious and traditional leaders are often important and influential representatives of local communities in questions related to peace and mediation. Finland has sponsored the establishment of The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. This network brings together religious and traditional leaders, both men and women, in their efforts for peace in conflict areas. 

We also need decisive action against terrorist groups, such as ISIL. At the same time, we must make sure that all measures to counter terrorism comply with international law: human rights law, refugee law, and international humanitarian law. Rule of law and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms are essential components in the fight against terrorism.

Finally, conflicts never appear in a vacuum. The role of arms trade – legal and illegal – is also an important aspect. Finland continues to be a strong supporter of the Arms Trade Treaty. I urge all countries to join the ATT.

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