Our world seems to be in a constant process of change. During the past 12 months we have witnessed dramatic developments in Eastern and Central Europe.
Democracy, human rights and other values, earlier not recognized by all, are now respected rules of the game.
Positive developments in Europe are now, unfortunately, shadowed by the worsening situation in the Gulf region. The Iraqi invation of Kuwait caused a chain reaction, the end of which cannot be foreseen at the moment. Escalation of the military situation in the region is most alarming.
Finland trusts in international efforts to settle the crisis by peaceful means. The United Nations Security Council has proved its effectiveness under the Charter.
We should vigorously continue on this road. It is important now to maintain the determination of the international community to control the situation. We also join other countries in demanding that Iraq gives up its policy of keeping foreign nationals trapped in Iraq and in occupied Kuwait in violation of fundamential principles of international law.
The Finnish-Israeli relations have grown and diversified during the two years you have spent here in Finland. Let me express my sincere appreciation for your devoted and talented work in promoting these relations.
The state visit of President Herzog was a success and we know your personal contribution to this result.
I still have fresh and warm memories of my visit to Israel in June. It was a successful visit, too. I was able to have most useful talks with the Israeli leaders and learn a lot of your beautiful country, so full of history.
My visit, no doubt, helped us to better understand the complexity of the Middle East problem and the pressing need for a lasting solution which takes into account the rightful aspirations of all parties concerned.
Traditionally, the cultural relations between Finland and Israel have been excellent. Definitely, we can now expect even more in this field - knowing that in Jerusalem you will be heading the Departmant for Cultural and Scientific Cooperation of your Ministry.
I wish you best of success in your career!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me propose a toast in honour of Ambassador and Madame Nairn!