Dear Comrades, Friends
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you on behalf of the Finnish Social Democratic Party and all social democrats in Finland to this third Socialist International Conference on Disarmament.
During the last twenty years Finland has hosted many important conferences in the field of international cooperation and disarmament. I can mention the SALT negotiations in the beginning of seventies, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1975 and the first Socialist International Disarmament Conference in 1978.
This week we shall have two important events here in Finland: now this SI conference here in Tampere and toward the end of the week the Bush-Gorbatshov Helsinki Summit.
We are very happy that so many representatives of the Socialist International member parties and guests from so many countries, parties and international organizations have had the possibility to come here to discuss disarmament questions as well as the current international situation.
Dear comrades and friends,
Since the Socialist International Conference on Disarmament in 1985 in Vienna there has been considerable progress towards peace and disarmament in the world. East-west relations have radically improved, the division of Europe is soon completely over and threat perceptions based on a confrontation between the blocs are dying away. Negotiations on disarmament and confidence- and security-building measures as well as the progress in solving regional conflicts by peaceful means have all played their part in this positive development.
The Socialist International and its member parties have taken a firm stand for the reversion from rearmament and tension to genuine disarmament, to an era of lasting peace and respect for human rights and humanistic values.
Last year the Stockholm congress called for the full implementation of defensive military postures and the principle of common security in partnership. We called for a 50 % cut in both conventional and nuclear weapons. These goals have not yet been achieved but the negotiations in most fields of disarmament are proceeding well.
Continuation and - indeed - deepening of the disarmament process is crucial for maintaining stability in a period of political and security policy changes. Disarmament should be kept on track and running even in times of upheaval.
Let me briefly reiterate some of the current disarmament objectives which certainly receive support of the Socialist International movement. There is a need for an early conclusion of the START treaty, with a 50 % cut of strategic nuclear weapons combined with meaningful measures relating to cruise missiles. There should be a commonly agreed halt to nuclear testing and decisive progress towards a comprehensive test ban.
The first phase of the CFE-treaty must be achieved quickly. Unilateral decisions on disarmament of various states have increased preconditions for this treaty. These negotiations should immediately be continued in order to reduce the number of conventional armaments in Europe to half of their present level. A comprehensive convention on the total ban of chemical and bacteriological weapons should also be negotiated and further progress made in building up regional confidence- and security-building measures.
The current situation in the Persian Gulf has once more underlined the need for reduction of the international transfer of arms. All countries should show responsibility and not sell arms to the parties of conflict. Transparency should be accepted as a goal in international arms transfers.
It is a hard rule of logic that arms are made for use.
Economies, heavily based on arms production and trade, can never provide a firm foundation for well-being.
Prospects for controlling the massive arms trade have now improved with better superpower relations, and this certainly is welcome.
During the last year Europe has gone through the greatest peaceful change in its history. The democratization process in eastern and central Europe has restored the basic political rights and freedom of speech. Also the social democratic movements now have the possibility to act freely in these countries after a halt of many decades.
Recent developments have quickly changed political positions in Europe. These changes have underlined the significance of all-European cooperation and especially the role of the CSCE. The CSCE has for its part created conditions for these changes. It is undoubtedly the system on which essential parts of European cooperation can also be based in the future.
The changes in Europe have called for a new European security system, which is no longer based on military confrontation but on increasing cooperation between states and nations. We should make use of the ongoing political processes, including German unification, in the creation of this system. Cooperation in economic and other fields should support the emerging new security system.
The CSCE provides a dynamic basis for the new cooperative security system. This framework could adopt some of the leading principles of the CSCE and be based on equality between states and consensus in decision-making.
The objective of the new security system must be to eliminate all military confrontation between states and blocs and to create a mechanism which can quickly react to eventual crisis situations and offer services in their prevention and arbitration. Regular meetings between Heads of States and foreign ministers would give guidance to this work, which would be assisted by a small permanent secretariat and other bodies. What we need is effectiveness and flexibility, not a giant bureaucracy.
The CSCE summit meeting this November in Paris should take the first steps towards the establishment of the new European security system and place it as the central item on the agenda of the CSCE follow-up meeting in Helsinki in 1992. As a host country, Finland is prepared to offer necessary facilities for the preparatory work for the Helsinki conference and do her best for its success.
In building up a new European security system we should use imagination and set far-reaching goals. History is full of bold ideas that first seemed impossible but later, with political determination, were fulfilled: We need institutions to verify disarmament and to solve security problems, to monitor observance of democratic and human rights principles and to set and control environmental standards.
We should discuss jointly, not only new security doctrines, but also how military resources are converted for peaceful purposes, such as industrial production and environmental protection. Environmental degradation is a formidable security threat which may soon overshadow other clouds on the horizon.
We in the Nordic countries are especially worried about the naval arms build-up in the northern sea areas. Negotiations on the reduction of naval armed forces must finally be accepted as a part of the international disarmament agenda. At the same time, the confidence- and security-building measures at sea and naval mechanisms of verification should be developed.
The nuclear-weapon-free countries and zones are at the heart of a nuclear-weapon-free Europe and world. To encourage creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones the nuclear powers should confirm that they respect the status of such states and zones. They should also guarantee that they will not use nor threaten with these weapons against nuclear-free countries.
The creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Nordic area is of utmost importance to the security in Northern Europe. Its effects would be reflected widely outside the region. And vice versa. The zone process in northern Europe has already been firmly tied to a wider European context. This European development does not slow down the Nordic process any more, on the contrary it has an accelerating effect. Arrangements concerning the nuclear-weapon-free status of the Baltic countries could also be discussed in this connection.
Significant results in nuclear disarmament between the superpowers have been achieved. Results are also being achieved in the Vienna negotiations on the reduction of conventional armed forces in Europe. In addition, when many countries reduce their arms build-up unilaterally, not a single country should remain in the role of a bystander.
Dear Comrades, Dear Friends,
The traditional role of Social Democrats for peace and disarmament is widely recognized. New realities must be carefully observed so that our work can be directed in the most efficient way. It is important to see that the present promising phase of the disarmament process is only a beginning. It should be enlarged so that it would concern all countries, not only the leading powers and Europe. It should also be widened to include all categories of weapons. Only a global, comprehensive disarmament agenda will produce the results that we as Social Democrats are seeking.