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FM Pekka Haavisto's Statement in the Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Small Group

Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Small Group

November 14, 2019

Statement by H.E. Pekka Haavisto

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland



Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you to Secretary Pompeo for hosting us today, and for inviting Finland as the current EU Council President to participate. We are pleased to continue participating in this Small Group also in the future on a more permanent basis.

The Global Coalition, together with the Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces has made remarkable progress in the past five years. We need to continue our efforts in order to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS, to stabilize the security situation and to create better living conditions for the people of Iraq and Syria. We cannot afford to take steps back.

Recent developments in the Northeast Syria are of grave concern. They cause unrest and insecurity in the region. We remain particularly worried of the humanitarian consequences, as well as possible revival of the ISIS terrorist organization in Northeast Syria. We consider the Turkish military operation unacceptable.

Political solution for Syria is the only way to achieve peace and stability. Progress by the UN-led political process is a key priority.

Finland will continue to provide aid to the crisis in Syria. We are preparing an additional humanitarian contribution of 2 million euros to UNFPA operations. In total, Finland’s contribution to Syria crisis response is 25 million euros for 2019 and overall support related to the Syria conflict already over 200 million euros.

It is essential to ensure that counter-terrorism measures are in accordance with international humanitarian law and do not hinder principled humanitarian assistance to those in need.

In Iraq, Finland has participated in the Operation Inherent Resolve since 2015. We continue to provide troops also in 2020, with some 80 soldiers. We also participate in other international crisis management efforts (namely Nato Mission in Iraq and EU Advisory Mission) that aim to build the capacity of Iraqi Government. We contribute to the UNDP stabilization fund and support humanitarian efforts.

Long-term commitment by all of us is needed to enhance stability and security in the region. Especially the youth needs future prospects, a sense of belonging to the society, and trust in their government. Accountability is another key for recovery. It is imperative to fight impunity and promote the dignity of victims and survivors.

Maintaining unity of purpose is crucial for the future of the Coalition. Fight against ISIS needs to be continued in all fronts: preventing terrorist funding and propaganda, recruitment and travel in the region and worldwide.

In our joint statement we pledge our support to local voices that offer an alternative vision to ISIS’ propaganda. This should be the essence of the Coalition’s work worldwide.

Thank you.


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