Suomen ulkopolitiikan asiakirja-arkisto ja kronologia
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Speech by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Pertti Paasio at a dinner for the Foreign Minister of Iran Mr Velayati on 3 May 1990

Your Excellency,

I wish you, Mr. Foreign Minister and your delegation once more welcome to Finland. Your visit is a formal continuation to the exchange of views that Finland and the
Islamic Republic of Iran have recently been having, particularly at the UN where I have had the pleasure of meeting with you.

At the beginning of the year I also had the opportunity to meet the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran here in Helsinki, who brought a message from yourself concerning the prospects for implementing the decision of the United Nations Security Council.

The point of departure for Finland has been - and still is - a genuine desire to impartially encourage the narrowing of differencies between the parties in the conflict
concerning the Persian Gulf area. We are striving at this, as a member of the Security Council, by lending our unreserved support to the concrete proposals of the UN Secretary General on the implementation of resolution 598.

The next step would be to start under the auspices of the Secretary General, direct negotiations between the parties. The Security Council supports the initiation of such talks. We hope for their prompt realization.

In our view the United Nations provides a proper framework for the parties to make progress, assisting them when they so want, to move away from the present "no war - no peace" -situation towards peace. Finland hopes that both parties would be ready to use this opportunity.

The United Nations military observer operation - in which Finland, too participates - is an important indication of the interest of the member countries to pave a way for a settlement acceptable to both parties.

We do not underestimate the depth of the problems. We know that continuous tension and the risk of a new regional rearmament puts excessive demands on resources badly needed for reconstruction.

Mr. Foreign Minister,

The reconstruction programme of Iran has duly received a great deal of attention, not only because of the commercial interests but also as a proof of the initiative and resolve of Iranian society to undo the damages of war.

Iran's drive at self-sufficiency in several different areas of production also deserves our support. Finland is ready to consider participating in the reconstruction
projects in those areas, which Iran puts first and in which Finnish know-how might help.

The memorandum on economical, industrial and technological cooperation to be signed tomorrow, creates a necessary framework for cooperation in these fields. In the last resort, however, business enterprises hold the key.

The first session of the commission between our countries is due at the end of this month in Teheran. We expect new openings from that meeting and hope that it will lead to concrete cooperation between Finland and Iran.

Mr. Foreign Minister,

The present world is witnessing growing religous intolerance. We in Finland regret those phenomena whenever they might occur. The conviction that human beings have a right to live, and the belief in the freedom of expression, are deeply rooted in our society. These are valued as basic human rights in Finland.

We honour Islam as an influential and mighty world religion, which gives spiritual and social inspiration to millions of humans beings. There is a need for a better
understanding and appreciation of each other's values.

Finland, on her part, is favourably disposed to a diversification of contacts with your country, whose rich cultural traditions have a firm place among Finnish
scholars. Attention should be directed also to the present day. The increasing orientation towards the United Nations by your country also opens up new contact potentials.

Mr. Foreign Minister,

Allow me once again to express my satisfaction at your visit to Finland. I am convinced that it will hold out new promises for our bilateral relations after the
difficulties and upheavals of the war years.I wish you, Mr. Foreign Minister, and your company a rewarding and pleasant stay here in springtime Finland.

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