United Nations Seminar on Confidence-building Measures in the Maritime Domain Helsingör, Denmark, June 13 - 15, 1990
Let me congratulate the organizers for the timely and important meeting we are opening today. Security at sea is an issue that interests and involves us increasingly, both here in Northern Europe and globally. An exchange of ideas from different countries and regions is not only useful but necessary.
Broad understanding exists that naval forces should be seen in their general military context. Better agreement, however,
is needed on the principles and the legitimacy of including naval forces in international disarmament efforts. This is
a problem not only for the naval powers but also for the growing number of smaller and coastal countries that are
concerned about their security environment.
To enhance international discussion on naval matters, Finland presented this year, together with Sweden and Indonesia, for the second time in row, a working paper to the United Nations Disarmament Commission on disarmament and confidence- and security-building measures at sea.
The paper raised such issues as naval nuclear disarmament, and nuclear safety at sea, and stressed the need for openness and transparency in naval as well as all military matters. Accordingly, we think that the nuclear-weapon states should reconsider their current practice of neither confirming nor denying the presence or absence of nuclear weapons aboard any particular ship at any particular time. In addition, we suggested measures for the prevention of incidents at sea, and for the protection of the security of civilian activities and the interests of neutral parties in conflicts at sea. At the same time, the paper stressed the importance of freedom of navigation and other principles of international law of the sea.
Even if it has reflected differences of views on several central issues, the work done within the Disarmament Commission during the last few years, with the valuable UN study on the naval arms race as the point of departure, will provide a good basis for further work within the UN system and in other fora.
It is encouraging that interest in naval issues among practitioners, experts and researchers is growing. New ideas are brought up and debated. We are learning to discuss naval issues.
With the end of the division of Europe, a new security landscape is emerging. Threat perceptions based on bloc confrontation are dying away. Arms reduction, disengagement of forces, and growing military openness are in the making. By increasing stability, these processes reduce and eliminate the risk of military confrontation.
Change creates new opportunities but it can also bring uncertainty and new tensions. However, Europe can grow to a security that will endure. It is a security where equal respect is given to the security interests of all countries and regions. On the other hand, it is a security where joint rules and practices of behaviour are gaining a greater role and common structures are strengthened.
Within the process of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, the participating states have introduced politically binding and militarily significant confidence- and security-building measures, including on-site inspection, in the Stockholm Document of 1986.
In Vienna, the 35 countries are negotiating to develop further, in a comprehensive way, a set of CSBMs covering the whole of Europe - from the Atlantic to the Urals - as well as the adjoining sea area and air space.
This set will cover such measures from the Stockholm agreement as prior notification and observation of military activities, verification and constraints. A promising convergence of views exists on a new measure, information exchange on military structures and their changes.
Furthermore, two other measures of the Vienna agenda, a communication network for handling CSBM-related messages and regular meetings for reviewing the implementation of agreed CSBMs, are the first permanent institutional arrangements under joint negotiation in the CSCE process. A seminar on military doctrine was given a first, and successful, run by the 35 countries in Vienna earlier this year.
As conventional disarmament advances, CSBMs - of which Europe has years of good experience - will gain increasing importance. Together with the stabilizing measures of a forthcoming first treaty on conventional armed forces in
Europe, CSBMs will establish unprecedented military openness and cooperation in Europe - dominated but a short time ago by a rigid confrontation of offensive forces and the heaviest concentration of armaments.
In the midst of such progress in military security, its maritime dimension remains a contentious issue. This should not, and need not, be so. The common principles of equal security can be applied here as well to create joint arrangements meeting the security concerns involved.
In Vienna, Finland has suggested together with the other neutral and non-aligned countries an enlargement of the scope of amphibious activity to be notified and observed. More information should be provided on forces and vessels involved as well as on the various phases of the operation.
Such an improvement from the Stockholm Document would meet security interests of coastal countries, giving them improved reassurance against a potentially offensive activity. It is even more legitimate as military interest on flank areas is increasing in Europe. Moreover, stronger coastal stability will enhance the security of the whole of Europe.
The NN countries propose that information exchange be applied to naval forces as well as land and air forces of the participating states in the area of application. Such information would cover annually the location of main bases, the number and type of main combat ships and their armament as well as ship-based aircraft and helicopters. Finland hopes that a further proposal will be made on advance information to be given on the deployment of new weapons systems into naval forces.
Naval forces based in Europe should not be left outside the growing openness in military matters that is a vital element in the evolving security arrangements.
Finland together with other neutral and non-aligned countries continues its work in Vienna to develop the proposals concerning amphibious operations and the exchange of information on naval forces. Our proposals reflect our security concerns. We believe that they are a substantial and significant contribution to the CSBM negotiations. As we see it, the task at hand in Vienna is to complete the work on a new set of CSBMs under the present mandate.
Finland will work actively for efficient and balanced negotiations on naval matters in the evolving European security system. We expect a new mandate from the Helsinki follow-up meeting of 1992 for a joint forum of the CSCE countries on disarmament and CSBMs. It can have a maritime dimension. Furthermore, the situation in coastal waters and sea areas will be an increasingly significant issue in efforts to strengthen regional security.
Finland has followed with great interest and concern military developments in the northern sea areas.
We are pleased with the intention of the United States and the Soviet Union to reduce significantly their sea-based offensive strategic weapons as part of a future START treaty. An important step is their agreement at the Washington Summit on a future ceiling of the number of long-range nuclear sea-launched cruise missiles and on politically binding unilateral declarations regarding the planned deployments of such weapons.
These measures will contribute to stability in the North of Europe. More needs to be done, however, to ease the strategic interest toward the region that has been growing in the last few years.
The great powers should seriously seek the prohibition of all sub-strategic nuclear weapons at sea. The recent discussion among naval experts on this idea is encouraging. Since the prospect of their deployment first emerged, Finland has appealed for a total ban on long-range nuclear SLCM's. The fact that no agreement exists on the verification of SLCM's speaks for the abolishment of this class of nuclear weapons.
President Mauno Koivisto of Finland suggested in 1986 that maritime confidence-building measures be given special attention by the Nordic countries. Their common interest in seaboard security is reflected in the wide-ranging discussion on such measures in recent years - this seminar is a good case in point. A prerequisite for any negotiation on maritime CSBM's is agreement among the naval powers to join in such efforts.
The Baltic Sea is our closest maritime environment. As Europe changes, new possibilities as well as new challenges exist for security and cooperation in the region. They should be met with effective and imaginative measures.
We appreciate the declared intention of the Soviet Union to withdraw and destroy unilaterally her medium-range submarine-launched nuclear weapons deployed to the Baltic Sea. Finland is ready to join in international arrangements for denuclearization of the Baltic Sea if consensus is reached among the nuclear naval powers and coastal countries. Maintaining the Baltic Sea an open sea in accordance with the established international law would have to be an integral part of any such regime.
We would see security arrangements regarding the Baltic Sea in the context of reducing armaments and building confidence in Europe as a whole and in Northern Europe as well. Such arrangements would be an important collateral measure to the establishment of a Nordic nuclear-weapon-free zone, which is the object of a joint study by the Nordic countries.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.