(1) We have gathered in Rome at a time of promise. Never before have so many of our citizens been assured of the basic rights and liberties which embody the spirit of the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris.
(2) Yet, we are also aware of the dilemma of the international community in the face of continued conflicts and human rights violations. Finland is deeply concerned about the erosion of the credibility of the CSCE.
(3) What is now needed is true political will and leadership, in cooperation, from all-European and transatlantic organizations and institutions. They must ensure
that the post-cold-war transition period will not turn into a lengthy period of instability.
(4) The CSCE has a remarkable record. It is, above all, an all-European conscience and a moral guide. Respect of human rights is an essential element in early warning and conflict prevention. In our view further integration of the human dimension to the comprehensive political process of the CSCE is needed.
(5) Lately the CSCE has developed effective and innovative instruments for preventive diplomacy and early warning. In this respect, the CSCE missions and the High Commissioner on National Minorities have more than proved their value. I would especially like to highlight the success of the mission in Estonia.
(5a) Let me congratulate Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia for the agreed draft decision on the issue of troop withdrawal. It augurs well for the negotiations underway.
(6) Through its unique role and geographical scope the CSCE can offer a framework for a future cooperative security order. This will, however, require further strengthening of the CSCE's political role and its structures and mechanisms, as well as adequate financial and human resources.
(7) It will also necessitate a strong CSCE role in crisis management. In our view, Chapter III of the Helsinki document continues to be valid. Recent challenges do, however, call for innovative and specific new approaches as well. My Government is ready to consider the further development of CSCE crisis management on the basis of criteria so intensively discussed during this meeting.
(8) Finland is committed to the continuing role and development of the politico-military aspects of security in the CSCE agenda. We are not asking for a free ride in terms of security.
In this context, the continuing role of the CFE Treaty as the keystone of European security is paramount. It has an impact on all aspects of conventional arms control in Europe.
Finland is ready to conclude by the Budapest review conference a harmonized document on information exchange and on the evaluation of that exchange. That would also pave the way for proceeding to commitments on future limitations of force levels at the same pace with the implementation of the CFE.
(9) The torments in former Yugoslavia have cast a shadow over the efforts of the international community for more than two years. When the time comes, the CSCE will have a lot to offer in rebuilding the civic societies. It can also have a role in regional arms control and confidence- building measures through its expertise.
(10) Over the past year, Finland has followed the Swedish leadership with admiration. Our special respects go to foreign minister Margaretha af Ugglas personally.
I also want to express my confidence in the commitment of the Italian chairmanship.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.