In his traditional New Year's speech President Mauno Koivisto emphasized the significance of the social and economical development of the Soviet Union for Finland. He also repeated the warning about a wave of immigrants threatening Finland. Koivisto regarded that equalising the difference in standard of living in the East and West serves the interest of all European countries. Koivisto described the collapse of the structures of the eastern trade as painful to the Finnish economy, but he believes that chances of economical co-operation with the Soviet Union are still good.
In his New Year's speech the Mayor of Helsinki Raimo Ilaskivi hoped for clear statements on the refugee issue. He said that the Finns should do their best to help people who are being persecuted politically, but leave people who are looking for a better standard of living into their own category.
An information office of the Republic of Georgia was founded in Helsinki. The office has the authority to act as the country's official announcer in Finland and in other Nordic Countries.
Prime Minister of Estonia Edgar Savisaar visited Finland as a guest of the consultation company Nestor Partners. During his visit he met Minister of Trade and Industry llkka Suominen and Prime Minister Harri Holkeri. Savisaar hoped for an international group of observers to examine the situation in Estonia and the fulfillment of human rights in the region. He also requested that Finland would support Iceland's initiative to act as an intermediary on the dispute between Moscow and the Baltic countries.
Minister of Defence Elisabeth Rehn received a report from the Parliamentary Committee of Defence Policy, which evaluated the current state of defence policy, performance and took a stand on the defence funds planned for the development of the defence forces in the 1990's. The Committee suggested in its report a slight increase in the defence budget, or at most a 1,5 per cent share of the GNP.
In Oslo at a New Europe -conference organised by Norwegian business life, Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio said that neutrality has served Finland very well. According to Paasio, neutrality is not enough. He stressed that it is vital for small countries to participate in the co-operation of Europe — staying out of it is not possible.
The Centre Party of Finland announced for the first time its will and readiness to discuss Finland's joining the European Community EC as a full member. They wanted to begin the discussion as soon as negotiations on the European Economic Space between EC and EFTA have been completed. Chairman of the Centre Party Esko Aho was of the opinion that if Finland applies for full membership, it has to be decided by a binding referendum.
The UN Ambassadors of the Nordic countries requested for a meeting with the UN Secretary General in order to express the readiness of their countries to support the United Nations if the UN is asked to place military observers or peace-keeping forces to supervise Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait. The Nordic countries emphasised the importance of a peaceful solution.
The first meeting of the parliamentarians within the Baltic region was held in Helsinki. It gathered together 95 parliamentarians from 18 countries. The idea of forming a Baltic Council was brought up in the meeting. The situation in the Baltic countries gave a reason to present on appeal to the President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbatshov of not using force.
The Parliament Committee for Social Affairs visited Viipuri, Leningrad and Moscow. During the visit the MPs tried to obtain information, among other things, about the possible immigration from the Soviet Union to Finland. The points of interest of the MPs were refugees from Somalia, and the co-operation of countries' customs and passport authorities to prevent drugs and stolen items from moving from one country to another.
The Finnish Government was inquired by the Government of Great Britain of the possibilities of providing help if the Gulf crisis lead into a military confrontation. In Finland's case it would only include humanitarian aid, especially dealing with nursing and medical equipment.
The Government Committee for Foreign Affairs, advised by the President, changed Finland's attitude towards refugees who arrive via the Soviet Union. The new interpretation implies that the Soviet Union can be regarded as a country where applicants for asylum can be returned.
President Mauno Koivisto confirmed that Finland will not interfere with the situation in the Baltic countries. According to Koivisto, Finland has actually recognized the incorporation of the Baltic countries into the Soviet Union and interfering with the Baltic situation would be interfering into other country's internal affairs. Any kind of support, also economical aid for the Baltic countries, made Koivisto doubtful. The President based his argument on national interest.
A Norwegian refugee organisation Nocre disapproved in its statement to the Foreign Ministers of the Nordic countries, of the decision on refugees by the Finnish Government that "the Finnish Government has decided not to let the Somalis arriving from the Soviet Union enter the Finnish procedure of applying for political asylum.
In the meeting of the presiding officers of the Nordic Council in Copenhagen the officers published a conclusive statement referring to the Baltic countries, which demands for "as soon as possible to begin actual negotiations between the Government of the Soviet Union and the Governments of the Baltic States in order to put into effect the efforts of independence of the Baltic nations.” The officers emphasised the right of the Baltic countries to be treated according to the principles of communication between countries agreed by the CSCE.
Finland gave a statement on the situation in Lithuania. A deep concern was expressed about the confrontations in Lithuania, as well as an appeal to the Soviet Government to end violence. It was emphasised that the problems arisen must be solved through negotiations and in a peaceful manner according to the principles accepted by the CSCE.
Prime Ministers of the Nordic Countries completed negotiations over a joint letter to President Mikhail Gorbatshov demanding political solutions. According to prime Minister Holkeri the letter is in line with the Finnish statement. The letter insisted on beginning a dialogue and restraining from military action.
The bloody events in Lithuania gathered over 300 demonstrators in front of the embassy of the Soviet Union and the Presidential residence. Slogans demanded for removal of the Soviet arms from the Baltic countries and the liberation of the Baltic countries.
Representatives of the Arctic countries met in Kiiruna, where they prepared a common strategy for protecting the common Arctic environment.
President Mauno Koivisto said in a press conference in Helsinki that CSCE would be an excellent forum to discuss the events in the Baltic countries. At the CSCE meeting of Government officers in Vienna, Austria supported by Finland, presented that the Baltic countries would be brought into the agenda of the meeting. The Soviet Union turned down the initiative. The President denied the assumption according to which he had been depending on false information when evaluating the Baltic situation.
The passage of Soviet Jews through Finland was denied because of security reasons.
The meeting of the Social Democrats from the Baltic countries was hosted by the Social Democrat Party in Helsinki. Social democrats from all Nordic countries attended the meeting: Germany, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and the Soviet Union. Chairman of SDP Pertti Paasio suggested creating mutual guarantee arrangements to promote economical co-operation within the Baltic region. Leaders of the Social Democrat Parties of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia appealed to other Social Democrat Parties within the Baltic region to gain support for their efforts to achieve independence.
Representative of the PLO in Helsinki, Doctor Zuheir al-Wazir, said that the purpose of the appeal given in Tunis, in which PLO urged the whole world to resist because of the attack against Iraq, was to receive moral support. Al-Wazir said that PLO understands Finnish voting behavior in the UN Security Council. According to him Finland has done its best to find a peaceful solution in the Persian Gulf. Al-Wazir also said that Finland is among the safest countries in the world.
The Finnish Government gave a statement because of the breaking out of the Gulf war, in which it regretted that the crisis could not be solved peacefully because Iraq did not obey the demand by UN to withdraw. The Government also noted that the war will not affect Finland and the normal functions of the society. However, he recommended the citizens to save energy. The signs of war could mainly be seen through more effective guarding of the most important buildings such as ministries and embassies in case of terrorist attacks.
In Harri Holkeri's press conference it became evident that the coordinating office of the UN catastrophe reserve had announced a regional action plan and a request for aid to support various organisations. Based on the request Foreign Ministry granted FIM 4 million for supporting international aid programs. In addition, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) widened its aid program in the Persian Gulf region. Finland decided to fund through Red Cross one field hospital and one month's costs of its personnel and operation, a total of FIM 6 million.
The Committee for Foreign Affairs completed its statement over a report by the Government on the main lines of Finnish UN policy, which the Committee had asked for last autumn. In its statement Finland received appreciation for activities in the UN Security Council as it worked for a peaceful solution during the Gulf crisis.
The Government of Finland renewed its appeal to Iraq that it should withdraw from Kuwait to avoid more bloodshed. The Government also hoped that Israel would do its utmost to avoid spreading the Gulf war. The Government similarly condemned Iraq's missile attack to Israel.
The annual meeting of the Nordic social democrats was held in Helsinki. Some of the issues covered were the policy towards Europe and the EES-treaty. According to the Nordic Social Democrats, the Nordic countries should be prepared to send more UN peace-keeping forces after the end of the Gulf war. In addition, it was suggested that a Security and Co-operation Conference into the Middle East should be organised after Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait.
President Mauno Koivisto sent a letter to the President of Israel Chaim Herzog because of the situation in the Gulf. In his letter he said that Israel has an inalienable right to defend itself, but there was also an appeal to Israel to prevent the spreading of the war.
According to Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio, who gave a speech in Turku, the question of the position of the Palestinians must be solved immediately after the end of the Gulf war in a way that satisfies all parties.
Head of the Office for Aliens' Affairs Risto Veijalainen feared that the Gull war and the uncertain situation in the Soviet Union will bring refugees to Finland and the rest of Europe. Veijalainen predicted that Europe's industrialized nations soon have to prepare a unified set of refugee rules in which the entrance of the applicants for asylum will be restricted.
Due to an armed nightly confrontation in Riga, the Capital of Lithuania, Finland again appealed to the violence that has required human lives to end.
In Turku, Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio was asked whether the official standpoint has changed as the situation in the Baltic countries has become critical. In his reply Paasio reminded of the agreement accepted within the CSCE last January, according to which the issues on human rights are not only internal affairs.
At a questioning time administered by political journalists, Party Secretaries of the four largest parties (Coalition, SDP, Central and Left Union) hoped for a more active grip in human rights politics. The Secretaries supported cautiously the suggestion by SDP's Ulpu livari to reduce Presidential power in foreign politics. Regarding integration the Secretaries were on the lines already presented: they all hoped for a good EES-treaty.
The Estonia-friendship group of the Parliament proposed to the Speakers Council that a Parliament delegation should be sent to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia to familiarize itself with the current situation.
Leaders of the Nordic Liberal Parties sent President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbatshov a telegram in which the use of military power against officially selected bodies in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia was strongly criticized.
A survey mode by the Planning Commission for Information on National Defence showed that the will of the Finns to defend their country has grown stronger. Three quarters thought that Finns must defend themselves in all situations, even if the result was uncertain (1989 67%). 33% (1989 29%) were in favor of increasing defence funds and 12% (1989 20%) in favors of decreasing them. 1881 Finns who represented Finnish population aged 15-69 years (except for Åland) were interviewed in the survey.
The proposal made by the Estonian Friendship Group on sending a delegation of parliamentarians to the Baltic countries was dealt with in the Parliament Chairman Committee which decided to reconsider the matter in case there will be any invitations. Five Baltic Friendship Organisations handed in their appeal to the Soviet Embassy emphasizing the importance of a peaceful solution.
Finland decided to cancel temporarily the treaties on Free Visa signed in 1964 with Algeria and in 1960 with Morocco and Tunis.
In an interview published by Aamulehti, President Mauno Koivisto talked about current activities in foreign policy. In his opinion, the independence of the Baltic countries is possible but outsiders should not agitate them. Koivisto condemned views according to which Finnish borders should not be closed before a possible flow of refugees. One should rather support the efforts of the Soviet Union in order to stabilize conditions in the area. In his point of view the UN is not participating in the Gulf War but the enemies of Iraq are the United States and its allies. The responsibility of the UN and under the circumstances the responsibility of Finland ended on the doy Iraq was to withdraw its troops from Kuwait.
In an interview of the newspaper Salon Seudun Sanomat, Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio denied estimates according to which the Gulf War could have been avoided with the help of a different kind of UN policy. According to him the war would have started regardless of UN's decision and yet according to the charter of the United Nations. According to the charter a nation has a right to defend itself with arms and ask for and receive help in doing so.
Member of Parliament Paavo Väyrynen objected to reducing Presidential power. He suggested that the practice should be changed so that the role of other key state bodies in decisions on foreign affairs would be increased. This should be carried out without changing the constitution or its interpretation. According to Member of Parliament Eeva Kuuskoski-Vikatmaa, who spoke in Forssa, the power of the President over Foreign Affairs should be given to the Parliament. According to her, one should build a stronger constitutional basis for the Parliament to influence on Finland's international politics.
Chairman of the Greens Heidi Hautala and Party Secretary Pekka Sauri announced a statement, in which they demanded the Finnish Government immediately to announce its readiness to send oil destruction equipment and experts to the Persian Gulf. The Greens noted that the ecological catastrophe will widen the destruction caused by the war into the surrounding countries and the whole world. Therefore, human and environmental losses caused by the war must immediately be considered at the UN Security Council.
Foreign Ministry of Algeria announced that Finns will from now on need a visa to Algeria. The matter concerned was a counteraction against the Finnish decision to require visas from Algerians.
The Finnish Red Cross held a seminar about victims of international conflicts and international humanitarian justice in Helsinki. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had estimated the first month's aid budget in the Gulf as FIM 390 million. The share of Finland's Red Cross had been calculated as 13 million of which the government has promised to pay 6 million. The 13 million is aimed at covering the costs of a Finnish team of surgeons, a field hospital for 100 persons and a refugee camp for 30.000 people. The projects will be prepared together with other Nordic countries.
Finland's joining the European nuclear research centre CERN was confirmed in Geneva. Finland became a member of CERN in the beginning of 1992.
At the meeting of the Government Officer Committee in Geneva in Vienna the use of force by the Soviet Union in the Baltic countries was strongly criticized. Department Manager of the Foreign Ministry Jaakko Blomberg, who took Finland's turn to speak, noted that respecting human rights and basic liberties is necessary in order to continue the CSCE process. He noted that the Finnish Government has expressed its view, according to which the Baltic nations have the right to self-determination and problems should be solved through political means.
The residing officers, Committees, and party groups of the Nordic Council gathered in Stockholm. The Council's lcelandic Chairman Pall Petursson rose into the speaker's stage in a Baltic demonstration at Norrmanstorget in Stockholm. He said that the MPs of the Nordic countries sympathize with the MPs of the Baltic countries, who have been treated inhumanely. He said that the Parliaments of the Nordic countries seek to send delegations to the Baltic countries as often as possible.
A Treaty on the cultural and scientific exchange program between Finland and Poland for years 1991-1993 was signed in Warsaw.
The first information centre planned by the Nordic Minister Council into the Baltic states was dedicated for use in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The centre is bound to promote cultural exchange, economical co-operation and information exchange between Estonia and the Nordic Countries.
President of the Republic Mauno Koivisto and his wife attended the funeral of the former King Olav V of Norway Oslo. President Koivisto also met the new Vice-President of the Soviet Union Gennadi Janajev, Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Bruntland and Union President of Germany Richard von Weizsäcker.
President Mauno Koivisto was worried about the politicisation of the Nordic Council regarding the statements on the Baltic countries. In an interview for the newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet Koivisto feared that the traditional Nordic issues are set aside and the co-operation may suffer if issues arising from different foreign policies begin to dominate discussions. Regarding the Baltic issue he emphasized that the view of the assisting country must also be taken into account. He asked whether we are able to commit ourselves in helping the small countries always and under all circumstances.
Chairman of the Leftist Union Claes Andersson demanded in his speech in Oulu that the Nordic Foreign Ministers should prepare a peace initiative to end the Gulf war. He also condemned the attacks by heavily armed soldiers against civilians in the Baltic countries.
At the meeting of the presiding officers of the Nordic conservative and moderate right-wing parties in Oslo the Coalition Party signed an appeal which stressed the Baltic countries' right for independence.
Dagens Industri, a Swedish business magazine, criticized Koivisto's views on the Baltic issue saying that his ice-cold attitude will draw him away from the Nordic connection.
The Cabinet Economic Policy Committee decided to forgive Egypt same old development loans and change the loan granted this year into aid. The country which has suffered from the Gulf war will therefore be supported for a total of FIM 280 million.
Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio sent a letter to Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy, in which he expressed sympathy from the Finnish people and Government to Israel which had become a target for Iraqi missile attacks. Paasio condemned attacks directed towards civil targets.
A Group of Finnish MPs have made an initiative in the Nordic Council to prepare a common report on the EC. The father of the idea is MP Gustav Björkstrand. The initiators regard the suggestion by Sweden of a common membership application worth considering if the countries decide to apply for membership.
Niels Ahlmann-Ohlsen, Chairman of the Foreign Policy Group of the main Government party the Conservative Nationalist Party, criticized the statements given by President Mauno Koivisto. According to Koivisto, the Nordic Council is too much focused on international issues such as the situation in the Baltic countries.
In its report, Committee for Foreign Affairs took a stand on the future of the Nordic Council. The report, prepared by the Finnish section of the NC, was based on a previous report on NC activities during the past year. They considered it important that NC improves parliamentary relations to the Baltic countries. The European dimension should be prioritized in NC activities. The Committee also hoped for more effectiveness in NC organisation. There should be at least two sessions per year and the secretariat of the presiding officers and the Secretariat of the Minister Council should be combined.
MP Paavo Väyrynen thinks that Finland should make a peace initiative in order to end the Gulf war. According to him, the initiative could be signed together with other Nordic or Neutral countries. Väyrynen suggested that the initiative should be given to the UN before the land war begins.
Labour Ministry's "Labour 2000” work group gave its final report. The group estimated in its report that Finland should into some extent open doors for foreign workers already during this decade. There will be no greater need for foreign workers until after year 2000.
Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio told the Finnish delegation of the Nordic council that he does not feel positive about the suggestion to form a Minister Council in connection to NC, because it "represents a tendency towards a common Nordic Foreign policy, which is not our aim”. Chairman of the Finnish delegation Elsi Hetemäki-Olander has supported the idea of forming a Foreign Minister Council.
Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio hoped in his statement that Iraq would react to the peace initiatives and withdraw from Kuwait, so that the Gulf war would end and civilians would avoid further suffering.
At a negotiation in Moscow it became evident that the renovation of the Kola nickel smelting works will begin next year with the renovation of the Petshenganikel smelting works.
During Parliament question time Prime Minister Holkeri said that Finland is planning on gradually cancelling the trade sanctions against South Africa. The Nordic countries are preparing a common program which would cancel the sanctions as soon as apartheid policy is being moderated. In addition, the Prime Minister said that Finland will stand firmly behind the decisions made against Iraq by the United Nations.
Chairmen of parties left from the Social Democrats in the Nordic countries estimated in Helsinki that the alliance led by the United States has clearly exceeded the authority given by the UN Security Council. This applies to the use of force in the territories of Iraq and Kuwait. The Chairmen demanded for a cease-fire in the Gulf.
The Government of the Soviet Union announced that due to the shooting which took place in Vilnius and Riga in January there have been legal proceedings and the offenders will be punished. The Soviet Union will take all the necessary measures to fulfill the international duties in its own territory into which it has committed itself — including ones that deal with human rights. The view was included in the report asked by Finland from the Soviet Union on respecting human rights in Lithuania and Latvia.
Foreign Ministers of Canada, Sweden, Norway and Finland negotiated in Stockholm on the situation at the Gulf. The meeting discussed ideas of relieving the situation after the war and the South African and Baltic issues.
The Protection Commission of the Baltic gathered in Helsinki to discuss activities to protect the Baltic. All of the six countries within the Baltic region took part in the meeting. Protection would include, in addition to international waters, coastal waters and the whole of the Baltic basin i.e. lakes and rivers.
The payments of the Finnish development co-operation in 1990 did not exceed the UN recommendation of a 0.7 % share of the GNP. Despite of the decrease of the GNP and the increase in the number of refugees received, the development co-operation funds of last year remained at the same level as the year before — approximately 0.63 % of the GNP.
The Government decided to use a budget grant on food projects between Finland and the Soviet Union. This years reserve for the purpose is FIM 30 million. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry decides over the details of the project. The largest number of projects are under way in the Autonomous Republic of Karelia. There will be a reserve of FIM 17 million for the projects to begin with.
Finland received responsibility over NC office in Tallinn. Sweden received the office in Vilnius and Norway the Riga office. The heads of the offices travel to their locations without diplomatic status.
The Finnish Government does not support the idea of inviting observers into the meetings of the Nordic Council. The viewpoint has, according to the information obtained by the newspaper Uusi Suomi, also been made known to the leaders of the Finnish delegation that travels during the weekend to NC's meeting in Copenhagen.
Foreign Minister Paasio stressed in his statement that there is an opportunity of peace and liberation of Kuwait for the first time during the Gulf war. He said that the Government is hoping for a quick solution based on the peace initiative of the Soviet Union. Reaching peace will, according to Paasio, require UN's activity in the Security Council as well as in peace-keeping operations. The Foreign Minister said that Finland and the other Nordic countries have discussed a possible operation of peace-keepers and military observers.
Speaker of the Parliament Kalevi Sorsa blamed Sweden for forgetting Finland in its Foreign policy. Sorsa said that earlier the Swedes watched how their moves fitted Finnish moves and vice versa. Nowadays there are only flings of a tactical nature. He did not regard it as very wise to take the Baltic countries into the Nordic Council which has especially been created to be a forum of mutual co-operation between the Nordic countries. Sorsa thinks that the Baltic region needs its own co-operative bodies.
The Government of Finland deeply regretted the spreading of the war at the Gulf into a land war. A statement from the Foreign Ministry said that opportunities for peace should still be actively searched in order to secure the future and balance of the whole region. According to the Ministry the spreading of the war also causes a further weakening of the humanitarian situation in Iraq and Kuwait. The international community must be prepared to relieve the distress as soon as it becomes possible.
At the meeting of the Human Rights Committee of the UN in Geneva, Chairman of the Finnish delegation Veijo Sampovaara said that the Iraqi Government is guilty of serious violations of rights in the occupied Kuwait. Iraq has caused economical damage, the size of which is only being revealed. In his speech he demanded that Iraq should obey the resolution of the UN Security Council.
Speaker of the Parliament Kalevi Sorsa received the Ambassador of the Soviet Union for Finland Boris Aristov, who passed a message from the Soviet Foreign Ministry. Aristov explained the view of the Soviet Union on the relations between the Nordic council and the Baltic countries and his country's concern on the politicisation of the cooperation. The Soviet Union also passed a similar message to other Nordic countries.
There was an environmental meeting of the member countries of Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) of the United Nations at Espoo Dipoli. There were nearly 200 delegates from 30 countries and observers from several environmental organisations. At least 26 countries signed a general treaty on the evaluation of environmental effect. The treaty will be implemented whenever a project causes significant environmental harm outside the borders of a country.
At the first meeting of the Environment Committee of the European right-wing parties (EDU) in Helsinki, the committee strongly condemned environmental terrorism practiced by Iraq in Kuwait. The Committee demanded that the ones guilty of environmental crimes should be made responsible of their actions in the international court. EDU also demanded that Iraq must, according to the UN resolution compensate the military and environmental damage to Kuwait as well as to third countries. The Committee also insisted on tightening the legislation on warfare.
The 39th session of the Nordic Council was held in Copenhagen. The Finnish delegation of Ministers was headed by Prime Minister Harri Holkeri. In his speech on February 26th he did not support founding a Ministry Council of Foreign Ministers in connection with the Nordic Council. The Chairmen decided to give their guests from the Baltic countries, the Presidents of Estonia and Latvia and the Vice-President of Lithuania, a visitor status instead of an observer status. In addition the Chairmen decided to give the guests the right to speak after the end of the actual session. The leaders of the Baltic countries presented that their issue should be considered in an international meeting and asked for the support of the NC. Each of the Nordic countries received a protest from the Soviet Union regarding the issue.
The Finnish Government was satisfied with the ending of the warfare in the Gulf. According to Prime Minister Harri Holkeri the alliance did not exceed the authority given by the Security Council. Holkeri also said that there is no reason to blame Finland for its participation in the UN decision making process. Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio did not believe that the region will reach a permanent peace until the Palestinian issue has been solved.
The Finnish Ambassador for Kuwait Tero Lehtovaara returns to Kuwait. Kuwait sent Finland a note including on invitation to the Ambassador.
Assistant Executive Secretary Martti Ahtisaari has been selected to lead a group of UN officials. Their task is to estimate the need for humanitarian aid in Iraq and Kuwait after the beginning of the cease-fire.
Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio said that Finland should make an initiative to create a nuclear-free zone into the Nordic countries. Paasio hoped that Finland would gather together a meeting of the Nordic Foreign Ministers to take the issue further.
According to MP Paavo Väyrynen, who spoke in Kuopio, we shouldn't waste time in establishing the nuclear-free zone and other activities regarding the increase of security in Northern Europe. According to Väyrynen the Gulf war showed that modern war technology has a decisive significance. Finland must, in the light of these experiences, analyze the performance of its defence forces and aim at improving their technology quickly, said Väyrynen.
At a Gulf panel in Helsinki it was stated that the war had shown how foreign politics is in the hands of one person and out of reach of the Parliament. MPs of different parties thought that foreign politics should be discussed before decisions are made at the Presidential Palace.
At the breaking up of the Parliament, President of the Republic Mauno Koivisto thought that the negotiations over the European Economic Space are getting closer to their successful ending. While talking about the future of Europe, Koivisto emphasized that the differences in the standard of living in our continent should be reduced, and so pressure for extensive movements of population could also be reduced. The President hoped for more solid security arrangements to the Persian Gulf. He believed that there will also be new possibilities for a peaceful solution to the Palestinians' problems and Israel's need for peace.
A joint Nordic Kola financing package was presented in Moscow for the first time to the Soviet parties concerned. However, the progress of the project is uncertain because the Soviet party has not named anyone to bear responsibility either of the project or its financing. It is uncertain whether Norilsk-Nikel is able to repay the granted loans with counterpurchases.
A delegation headed by Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Heikki von Hertzen visited Pakistan. The main objective of the visit was to find some of the five hundred refugees that Finland has decided to accept this year. The purpose was also to fill last year's quota of refugees. A small part of the delegation joined by two more persons travelled on to Hong Kong and Malaysia to select some Vietnamese refugees as well.
Finland restricted the geographic area in which it applies economic sanctions against Iraq agreed in the UN Security Council resolution. The area of Kuwait which Iraq itself had taken possession of in 1990 and which is once again ruled by the legal Government of Kuwait was removed from the sanctions.
16.3-24.3.1991 was a Finnish Culture week in Iceland featuring Finnish cinema, literature and music. The organizers were Pohjolan talo (Nordic house), Cinema of the University of Reykjavik and Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
At the general election the Finnish Centre Party got 55 (earlier 40) representatives in the Parliament and become the biggest party in Finland. Other parties got seats as follows: the Finnish Social Democrat Party 48 (56), the National Coalition Party 40 (53), the Leftist Union 19 (20), Swedish People's Party 12 (13), the Finnish Rural Party 7(9), the Finnish Christian League 8 (5), the Greens 10 (4) and the Liberal Party 1 () seats.
Nordic Foreign Ministers and Ministers of Development and Co-operation had a meeting in Karlshamn, Sweden. The participants expressed their wish that the UN Security Council would abolish sanctions against Iraq when it comes to food. The Nordic Countries contracted to deliver humanitarian aid to Iraq. In addition to this they expressed their will to participate in puffing back in order the damage done to the environment and infrastructure in the Gulf war. Foreign Ministers also wanted to pay attention to the position of the Palestinians in Israel and Kuwait and to respecting human rights of the Kurds. As to South Africa, Foreign Ministers decided to ease the regulations on visas. The meeting also considered the report on a Nordic nuclear free zone.
The Government decided that Finland will forgive Mozambique its development credits of FIM 75 million and the unpaid interest on them. The sum of approximately FIM 1.5 million that has not been withdrawn will be changed into contribution.
Norwegians with the support of Russian environment activists have started national environment activity in the Kola peninsula. "Stop the deadly clouds” movement expressed its wish in a meeting held in Inari that Finns should join the activists of the organization in order to prevent Soviet environmental destruction in Kola and Novaja Zemlja.
President of the CSCE Department of the Soviet Foreign Ministry Juri Derjabin regarded the FCMA-treaty as necessary above all because the construction of a new European security system is still unfinished.
Minister of the Environment Kaj Bärlund and his Estonian Colleague Tönis Taasik met in Porvoo. Bärlund found it possible that Finland would help Estonia with its environmental investments. Finland is mainly interested in the sulphur effluents from power stations in Narva and Lake Kohtla.
Finland and the Republic of South Africa agreed on increasing the level of diplomatic representation. In both countries the representation will be headed by Ambassadors. The change will take effect after the completion of administrative and legislative procedures.
Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio, who gave a speech at the event of the Association of the Editors for Foreign Affairs in Helsinki, gave his estimate on foreign politics of the recent legislative period. In his opinion Finland could not have influenced on a different kind of development at the Persian Gulf, even if it had abstained from voting in the UN Security Council for the resolution of allowing war. As a whole, Paasio thinks that Finland has adopted well to the international upheavals in the past few years. The Foreign Minister was surprised of the different signals recently given by the EC to countries outside the EC. He drew the conclusion that neither the decision nor the schedule for decisions relevant to Finland are yet within sight. According to the Prime Minister, the SDP which is going to be in the opposition, will have the opportunity to influence on the activities of the Committee for Foreign Affairs.
Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany has offered Finland the opportunity to buy weapons from the previous East German national army. Finland is interested in the offer and the Ministry of Defence will sort out a way to do the deal.
Representatives of Parliaments from 34 CSCE countries agreed at their meeting in Madrid on the formation of the CSCE Parliament. Finland received six seats on the CSCE Parliament which totals 245 members. The Parliament will assemble once a year to discuss issues regarding the CSCE process, to evaluate the progress of the process and take initiatives. The Parliament will be headed by a chairman committee consisting of leaders of the delegations that decide over the establishment of a possible secretariat as well. The first session will be held in Budapest in July 1992.
The Finnish Government appealed to the Iraqi authorities in order to end the ongoing violence. According to Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio the Government and the different nationalities should be able to create a constructive way of communicating with each other, based on human rights and mutual respect. The international community should quickly begin to relieve refugee and other humanitarian problems in the area.
Vice Chairman of the EC Commission Frans Andriessen visited Finland. He had faith in the schedule of the EES-treaty, but he stressed the importance of the Ministerial Conference of 19 countries in May in speeding up the process.
Minister of the Environment Kaj Bärlund visited Moscow. At the 43rd anniversary of the FCMA-treaty he expressed his gratitude on the progress of environmental co-operation between the countries. He also wished that agreements considering Kola could be signed as soon as possible and there would be a general settlement regarding Kola.
At the opening of the Parliamentary session President Mauno Koivisto said that Finland will have different possibilities to proceed due to changes in the international relations. He noted that Finland will continue the friendly neighbour policy which has given good results and which has prerequisites to guarantee peace and security in our region. In his speech he also considered the EES-treaty and Soviet trade.
Parliament groups of the Coalition and Centre Parties agreed that the Centre Party will head the Finnish delegation in the European Council and the Coalition Party in the Nordic Council.
Presidents of Finland and the Soviet Union greeted each other by telegrams due to the 43rd anniversary of the FCMA-treaty. Speaker of the Parliament and Chairman of the Supreme Court, Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers also exchanged telegrams.
Federal Chancellor of Austria Franz Vranitzky paid a work visit to Finland as a part of his tour to the Nordic Countries. As Austria is the Chairman Country of EFTA, the purpose of the tour was to strengthen belief in the schedule of the EES-treaty. In his press conference Councilor Vranitzky assured that the membership will not take away Austria's neutrality.
Ten shots were shot by a hand-gun from the Iraqi Embassy for Helsinki, as the Kurdish demonstrators forced themselves inside the Embassy's courtyard, threw stones at the Embassy and tried to pull down the Iraqi flag. The Kurds demanded for sovereignty and asked for UN and other international organizations to support their fight and to arrest and punish Saddam Hussein. After the Foreign Ministry had received an explanation from the Iraqi Embassy, attaché Khalid Mohammed Hmoud was declared an unwanted person and was ordered to leave the country.
Finland has strictly refused to be a passage country for Soviet troops returning from East Germany. According to Minister of Defence Elisabeth Rehn the issue has unofficially been considered in February. Minister Councilor of the German Ministry of Communications Eckart Will had negotiated with the Ministry of Communications on transporting construction materials through Finland to the Soviet Union. The Finnish Embassy for Germany regarded the discussions on Soviet troops as theoretical, tentative and strictly unofficial.
At a Nordic discussion in Helsinki called "the Nordic Region after 1992” MP Paavo Väyrynen repeated his proposal for the Nordic Co-operation to become a Nordic Community (NC). According to Väyrynen, the NC could belong as a regional co-operation body to either EES or the widening EC. Without this arrangement the Nordic Countries will always be subordinates, he said.
The Government gave its support to the making of a Finnish proposal to renew the Kola nickel smelting works. The Cabinet Economic Policy Committee accepted a 50 % grant on the tender which the company makes for the Soviet Union. The Government will, according to the decision, pay back half of the lost investment if the tender is not successful.
The Parliamentary groups of the SDP, the Left-Wing Alliance, the Greens and the Swedish Nationalist Party appealed to the Government that it should act in the UN and other international organizations in order to end violations against the innocent Kurds and to achieve their self-determination.
Vice-Chairman of the EC Commission Martin Bangemann persuaded Finland and other EFTA-countries to become members of the EC, because according to him, the negotiations between EC and EFTA on EES are at a deadlock. Bangemann suggested that Neutral countries should review the basic concepts of their foreign politics. He said that during the Gulf War the classic idea of neutrality has proved to be old- fashioned. He asked whether anyone can be neutral as the whole international order is in danger.
President Mauno Koivisto, Foreign Minister Pertti Salolainen and a large number of industrial delegates participated in the opening of the European Reconstruction and Development Bank. The Heads of State and Prime Ministers attending the opening held a meeting, in which they discussed the situation in Eastern Europe. As President Koivisto met Prime Minister of the Soviet Union Valentin Pavlov, he expressed his concern about the decrease in trade between the Soviet Union and Finland. Koivisto also met Prime Minister of England John Major and the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
In Vienna, Finland gave other participants of the CSCE information concerning exchange of military information. The information deals with the strength of the Armed Forces, armament, purchasing plans of military equipment and military budget.
Finland received an official request to send observers to UN Unikom operation at the border between Iraq and Kuwait. The request arrived to Foreign Ministry from the Secretary General of the UN Javier Perez de Cuellar. President of the Republic decided that Finland would join the observers supervising the cease-fire between Iraq and Kuwait. Seven Finnish military observers took port in the operation.
At the Pellervo Society in Helsinki, Finnish Ambassador for the EC Erkki Liikanen said that there are many problems regarding the negotiation positions between EFTA and EC. The EFTA-bloc is disunited and Finland is the only country aiming for the EES-treaty according to the objectives accepted in the Parliament. Even though the EES would collapse or become an intermediate stage, membership in the EC is a realistic option for Finland too. Neutrality is not an obstacle for membership, especially if co-operation in the foreign and security policies in the Community will become such as it is currently being planned.
The Government decided to use FIM 100 million to the aid programs planned for relieving the consequences of the Gulf crisis. The necessary funds were transferred to the Foreign Ministry from the Ministry of Trade and Industry. This was because payment on the basis of the export credits guarantee scheme and interests attached to them were not used. The sum, a total of FIM 100 million, was meant to be paid as development aid to Peru and Cuba.
Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio appealed to Iraq that it should end persecution against the Kurds. Paasio stressed in his statement that Kurds must be allowed to return safely to their homes. Paasio regarded that the decision mode by the United States, France and England to set up refugee camps is an exceptional and temporary means of humanitarian activity. According to him the UN should take over the responsibility of the refugee camps as soon as possible.
The Government decided on the principles of support in environment protection projects in Eastern Europe. The projects important to Finland in the neighbouring regions can be granted no more than 50%. According to the decision made by the Ministry of Environment, East European projects can be granted a 85% loan at the most. Decision over the subsidies will come into effect in the beginning of May. The investments are meant to improve mainly the utilization of Finnish technology for environment protection.
The Government made a decision of principle that Finnish experts will begin to investigate this year the safety of the nuclear power stations in Leningrad area. FIM 1 .4 million was reserved for the purpose.
Visas are no longer necessary between Finland and Poland after the beginning of May 1991. The condition for this was that Poland will take back its citizens who are not welcome to Finland.
Member of the EC Commission in charge for Foreign Relations Frans Andriessen described a model in Brussels, according to which the EC could affiliate members. Affiliate membership would be allowed for countries that in their own or in EC's opinion can not become full members. Such countries might be, according to Andriessen, neutral countries and the new democracies in Eastern Europe. Andriessen made the initiative "towards the 24-state Community” on his own and there have been no comments by the EC commission.
The Finnish Air Force has asked for another bid from the fourth fighter supplier. The invitation was sent for the twin-engined F/A-18 plane from the company McDonnell-Douglas. The invitation applies to 60 one-seated C-type fighters and 1 two-seated D-type training planes.
Bank Manager Kalevi Sorsa participated in a prestigious conference in Saltsjöbaden in Sweden, invited by the Prime Minister of Sweden Ingvar Carlsson. They discussed objectives of the international community in the 1990's. The conference considered peace policy, security, development co-operation, environmental issues, democracy, human rights and handling of the global development. A declaration called "Common Responsibility in the 1990's” considered initiatives to make UN more effective. This would be achieved by increasing the authority of the Secretary General and gathering the world leaders into a summit, prepared by an independent Commission named by the UN.
Minister of Defence Elisabeth Rehn visited New York. She attended a meeting of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) administrative council. As Chairman of the Board of the National Committees Minister Rehn spoke representing 34 states. In her speech she suggested the reorganization of development aid; 35 % of the aid should be aimed at basic health care, family planning and education.
In his statement in Kyoto in Japan, leader of the ANC Nelson Mandela criticized the Finnish decision in March, according to which Finland will ease its attitude towards apartheid policy in South Africa.
Finland rejected the request by the US to send units to Northern Iraq. The units would take part in an aid operation of the Kurdish refugees. According to the Foreign Ministry a uniform request was given to Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.
Finnish delegation of five headed by Olli Rehn, attended the two-week long spring meeting of the European Council in Strasbourg. Rehn demanded in his speech that the member countries should give more support to the independence efforts of the Baltic countries.
President of the Republic received at a solemn audience the fully authorized Ambassador of South Africa Cornelia Margaret Swart, who was accredited to Helsinki. She gave her credentials to the President.
President of the Republic Mauno Koivisto granted the resignation for Harri Holkeri's Government and replaced it with Aho's non-socialist Government. In his speech to the new Government the President promised to give all the support he can within his authority. Koivisto emphasized the importance of the integration decision under way. Research on all forms of co-operation must be continued until there are positive results.
The program of Prime Minister Aho included, for example, improving relations with the Soviet Union. This will be based on the FCMA-pact and the declaration signed in 1989. It will also be important to improve communication within the Baltic region to maintain stability and to decrease pollution. The Government wanted to deepen the cooperation between the Nordic countries and pay special attention to the challenges created by the integration process. At the negotiations regarding the European Economic Space the Government tries to get a balanced EES-treaty within the agreed time frame. The Government will estimate the internal development of the EC and the possible expansion from the Finnish point of view and tries to reach a solution that safeguards our national interests. In addition, the program dealt with CSCE and GATT, development co-operation, the international refugee policy and the UN. Solid development is regarded as the emphasis of the activity of the financial units of international organizations.
There will be an agreement on visas between Finland and Namibia. Visas will no longer be needed between the countries after the beginning of June.
Chairman of the Social Democrat Party Pertti Paasio, who spoke in Jyväskylä, regarded that Finland should be prepared to apply for membership of the European Community. He thought that the European Economic Space can not become a permanent integration solution for Finland. Paasio emphasized that in the possible EC negotiations there must be a solution in which Finland won't have to commit itself to military actions.
The Soviet Ambassador for Finland Boris Aristov, who spoke at the council of the Finnish-Soviet Union Society in Helsinki, condemned the efforts of single Soviet republics to separate from the Soviet Union. He regarded improving connections with the Baltic states as natural. He emphasized that as the Baltic Republics are a part of the Soviet Union, connections between Finland and the Baltic countries belong to the entity of relations between Finland and the Soviet Union.
Party Council of the Finnish Centre Party took a stand for the first time on Finland's possible membership in the European Community EC. The party is prepared to consider membership on the condition that decision making about issues vital to the national security will remain in the hands of Finland. The main objective of the Centre Party is to quickly achieve the EES-treaty.
The Government of Georgia asked the Finnish Red Cross for help. According to Member of the Parliament of Georgia Maya Tomaddze, who visited Finland delivering the request, the country has faced two major crises. Firstly, there are the Osseet troops supported by the Soviet Union. Secondly, there has been an extremely powerful earthquake which began on the same day as the request was presented.
The 85th meeting of the International Parliament Union IPU was held in Pyongyang in North Korea. In the meeting, the Nordic countries hoped that the Parliaments of the Baltic countries would be provided an opportunity to participate in IPU one way or another.
The Government Committee for Foreign Affairs considered in the presence of the President of the Republic the situation in the integration talks. The Government will still try to achieve a positive solution in the negotiations on EES in the agreed time and rejected estimates that Finnish integration policy had changed.
Finland has changed the Embassy in Pretoria, the Capital of South Africa, into a representation led by Ambassador. Finland will also establish consulates to Hong Kong and Munich in the Federal Republic of Germany. Embassies in Peru and Chile will be closed and the side accrediting office in Chile will be changed into a representation led by Ambassador.
Press attaché of the Foreign Ministry of the Soviet Union Vitali Tshurkin, who visited Finland, said that the Soviet Union will negotiate separately with each East European country on a friendship treaty that meets the country's needs. Therefore each treaty will be different. Tshurkin confirmed that the Soviet Union will not force any country to accept clauses or commitments which it does not agree. According to Tshurkin, the Soviet Union does not disagree with the Finnish EC plans.
According to a survey made by the Planning Commission for Information on National Defence (MTS) it came out that the Finns are willing to strengthen their Air Force (55 % of the population). The survey also revealed that the willingness of the Finns to defend themselves is still strong, 15 % thought that Finns should defend themselves militarily in all cases. Attitude towards the defence budget had not changed significantly. 33 % wanted to increase it (1990 33%), 46 % to remain unchanged (1990 50 %) and to decrease 20 % (1990 12 %).
President Mauno Koivisto and his wife paid a three-day work visit to Washington in the United States on the invitation of President George Bush. President Bush and President Koivisto promised their support to the strengthening of the process of renewing the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Among discussed issues were also the situation in the Middle East and the problem-free relations between the countries. President Bush expressed a wish that Finland would buy fighters from the United States. Koivisto also met briefly with Secretary General of the United Nations Javier Perez de Cuellar with whom he discussed the situation in Eastern Europe.
President of the Republic decided on changes in the Consultative Committee of Integration. The Committee is headed by Foreign Minister Pertti Salolainen.
The Chairmen of the Nordic Council and the Co-operation Ministers of the Minister Council met in Bergen in Norway. The Cooperation Ministers expressed their willingness to raise budget funds to improve Nordic co-operation. Other issues discussed were the connections to Eastern Europe, especially to the Baltic countries.
At the meeting of the European Trade Union joint organization in Luxembourg, Chairman of SAK Lauri Ihalainen said in his speech that the Finnish Union will take the initiative in a trade union meeting of the CSCE countries. The meeting would be held in May along with the CSCE meeting in Helsinki.
Finland has joined the Social Development Fund of the European Council. A total of FIM 22 million has been paid as membership fee including the financial share of Finland. The fund is an international credit organization that acts as an intermediary of credits for its member countries. Loans are primarily granted for improving the circumstances of refugees and immigrants.
Minister of Development Co-operation Toimi Kankaanniemi was worried that it has become a permanent cure to problems of the National Economy to reduce funds allocated to development cooperation. The Government is going to cut development co-operation funds for FIM 700 million next year. According to Kankaanniemi the appropriation is cut equally from all projects except for the support to aid and missionary organizations.
Under-Secretary of State llkka Ristimäki of the Finnish International Development Agency presented a report on the Nordic development co-operation called "The United Nations in Development”. In the report the Nordic Countries suggested that large bodies should be replaced by more effective small ones. The Nordic Countries also demanded for foundation of a Council of International Development to steer development co-operation and act as a meeting forum for Development Co-operation Ministers.
Foreign Minister Paavo Väyrynen participated in the meeting of neutral and non-aligned countries' Foreign Ministers of the CSCE. The meeting was held in Liechtenstein and it dealt with the present state and the oncoming meetings of the CSCE. There was a strong drive to promote the idea of letting the Baltic Countries participate in CSCE meetings.
Finland regarded as positive the announcement of President George Bush about the readiness to remove obstacles from the way to complete ban on chemical weapons. The Finnish statement was included in the speech of Foreign Ministry's Temporary Secretary of State Aarno Karhilo, who spoke at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. He reminded that the war at the Gulf pointed out again the urgency for a total ban on chemical weapons. A research project by the Finnish Foreign Ministry has, in addition to its scientific work, trained chemists from developing countries to master techniques of testing the tightness of the ban.
The Finnish Government took proceedings at The Hague Court regarding the Danish plan to close the Great Belt sound with a 65- meter tall bridge. According to the suit, there has been a traditional right to pass through the Danish sounds and Finland demanded for recognition of the free passage. Denmark should also begin negotiations with Finland on building the connection via the Great Belt in such a way that will allow free passage.
In on interview on the newspaper Uusi Suomi the former Ambassador of the United States Rozanne Ridgway thought that by the end of the decade only few of European neutral countries will call themselves neutral. Neutrality was a port of the cold war which is now over. Ridgway said that if Finland applies for membership and becomes a member of the EC there won't be much left of Finnish neutrality. She thought that after joining Finland probably would be able to define its neutrality in the same way as the Irish, who as current members do not participate in defence politics.
Foreign Minister of Denmark Uffe Ellemann-Jensen threatened that he would claim for billions of compensation if the proceedings taken by Finland delays the construction of the Great Belt bridge. Ellemann-Jensen said that the Finnish action damages both Finland and the Nordic co-operation.
The Financial Council headed by Prime Minister Esko Aho received a report on Finland's possibilities in the present economical state to support the near regions of the Soviet Union. VATT would especially like to cut given environment protection funds, because Finland still has claims worth around FIM 6-7 billion.
According to the Chairman of the Finnish Coalition Party, applying for membership to EC as Sweden has done would be a gesture of credibility. Finnish conditions for membership will anyway be defined in the same negotiation, where memberships of Austria and Sweden are decided. Therefore, Finland has no time to waste, said Suominen in the meeting of the Party Council of the Coalition Party. The party suggested that the Finnish mark should immediately be tied to the European currency ECU.
Vice-Chairman of the EC Commission Henning Christophersen rejected dreams of including currencies outside the Community in the EC monetary system EMS. According to Christophersen the issue will not even be discussed in the EC until decisions on the creation of a common monetary union have been made. In theory, one can join the union only by being a member of the EC. The only alternative is the model of Sweden and Norway: currency is unilaterally linked to the EC currency ECU.
Finland gave the International Court in the Hague on application of pointing out the so called "temporary measures”. In the application Finland requested that Denmark would be ordered not to begin any construction activity in the Great Belt sound that would undo the decision eventually made by the Court.
Finland and EC had their first ECP negotiations of ministerial level, in other words discussions on European political co-operation. Foreign Minister Paavo Väyrynen met in Luxembourg, the current Chairman country of the EC, Foreign Minister of Luxembourg Jaques Poos. In the meting Poos emphasized that EC will not accept new members in the same order as applications arrive. He did not regard neutrality in the present state of Europe as a stumbling block for membership. However, he stressed that neutral countries should accept the conditions set by the EC.
At the negotiations on the air traffic agreement between Finnish and Japanese authorities in Tokyo, it was agreed that in air traffic between the two countries, routes across the Soviet Union over Siberia can also be used.
Summit of the heads of state of the EFTA member countries was held in Vienna. The agenda included the EES discussions and the recent development in Eastern Europe. The Finnish participant was Prime Minister Esko Aho. He announced that Finland is prepared only to small concessions regarding the EES fund, which will be founded for the benefit of EC's poor countries.
The Hansa Environment Conference which was held in Helsinki gathered a group of renowned experts of economic life and environment, mainly from the Baltic sea states. They discussed a way of directing the countries' economies towards environment-friendliness. The opening speakers were the Secretary General of UN Development and Environmental Conference Maurice Strong and Minister of Environment of the state of Schleswig-Holstein Berndt Heydemann.
The Culture Symposium, one of the agreed expert meetings of the CSCE follow-up meeting in Vienna, was held in Cracow, Poland. The delegates of 34 CSCE countries compiled a wide final document of 50 statements.
In Brussels Henning Christophersen, in charge of finance in the EC, suggested that the Finnish mark should be linked to follow the calculatory currency unit ECU. He regarded linking the Finnish Mark to the ECU as a wise thing to do because so many European countries already have done so. He was flat able to comment on the schedule.
According to the press the Soviet Union has accepted the detailed utilization plans of the Shtomanovskoje natural gas field, situated at the Sea of Barents. The plan is based on a report produced by an international consortium of Concon, Norsk Hydro,Imatran Voima, Metro and Neste together with the Ministry of Gas- and Oil Industry of the Soviet Union. Some Finnish companies will also take part in the further examination of the gas deposits in the area.
Minister of Trade and Industry Kauko Juhantalo and the Director General of the European Space Association ESA Jean-Marie Luton signed on agreement in Helsinki. The agreement continues Finnish associate membership in ESA until the end of 1994. On the same occasion the agreement on a scientific program of Finland and ESA was extended.
The key topics during the four-day visit of the first Deputy Prime Minister of the Soviet Union Vitali Doguzhiev were the Eastern trade and environmental issues. Finland decided to grant the Soviet Union a FIM 1.5 billion credit for taking care of outstanding debts and to securing unfinished deliveries. In was also agreed that trade between the countries will be returned to the same basis as it used to be during the transitional stage of the clearing trade.
The information department of UN arranged a seminar for journalists at Hotel Marski in Helsinki regarding the Palestinian issue. Editors and journalists specializing in the Middle East were invited from all over Europe. The Chairman of the event was Under-Secretary General Vasili Safrontshuk, who is in charge of issues regarding the UN Security Council and other political issues.
Scientists from the Nordic Countries may travel to Novaja Zemlja to examine the Soviet nuclear test area, the Nordic Ambassadors were told in Moscow. The Nordic Countries made a wish to go and examine the area in which the Soviet Union in 1990 performed a nuclear explosion in Novaja Zemlja.
Foreign Minister Paavo Väyrynen spoke at a seminar in Helsinki regarding the UNCED environment and development conference of the UN. According to him, Finland must in the future prepare itself to participate in international environment co-operation with nearly as much as the development co-operation objective requires, in other words 0,1 % of GNP. Väyrynen also stressed that Finland must gradually become a surplus economy, which is responsible for its international duties with the produced surplus.
The Government decided to link the Finnish mark to the ECU at the present currency rate. The Government voted by 161 votes against 18 for the approval. A bill that enables linking the currencies together was confirmed by the President the same day.
Assigned by Turun Sanomat, Taloustutkimus Oy made a survey on the Finns' altitudes towards the EC. 64 % of the respondents supported the idea of Finland's membership. Attitudes were most positive among young people and people in managerial positions. Nearly 20 % of the respondents were against the membership. The pensioners were the largest group of opponents. People living in the countryside opposed EC more than people in urban areas. 62 % needed more information about issues regarding EC membership.
President of the Republic authorized Ambassador Eeva Kristina Forsman to sign in Madrid a record regarding the Antarctic which acknowledges the special status of the Antarctic by defining it as an international nature park.
The party conference of the Coalition Party supported joining the EC. The party was the first of the large parties whose conference was directly in favour of the EC. According to the conference Finnish neutrality in today's Europe can be described as military nonalignment and maintenance of good relations with neighbours.
During a one-day official visit to Sweden Prime Minister Aho stressed that Finland will not plagiarize Sweden in its relations to the European Community, and that leaving a simultaneous application is not possible.
A meeting of Government officers preparing an environmental conference of eight Arctic countries: the five Nordic countries, Canada, the Soviet Union and the United States, began in Rovaniemi. The meeting accepted a general declaration and an action plan for the protection of Arctic environment.
The Consultative Committee of Economic Development Cooperation (Talke) thought that the Finnish development co-operation is in crisis. Therefore, it needs to be re-estimated. Talke considered that one per cent of the GNP must be addressed to international development by year 2000. In addition to supporting developing countries this would also support environment protection in regions near Finland. Development old payments must be at least 0.1% of the GNP next year. The share of the poorest countries from the total aid given by Finland should exceed 40 per cent.
The Finnish Rural Party SMP said that it will not accept Foreign Minister Väyrynen's plan to increase Finnish foreign development aid dramatically. SMP said in its statement that during a difficult economical period it is irresponsible to promise to increase in foreign aid or aid to Eastern Europe of several billion Finnish marks.
According to a statement of the Service Centre for Development Co-operation (Kepa), Finnish development co-operation is in a crisis. The whole operation must be re-estimated. The worst bottlenecks are, according to Kepa, aid programs which are focused on a single country. They restrict the allocation of Finnish development aid funds.
The Government prepared itself for the expected pile up of legislation in 1992 regarding the European Economic Space. A committee was set up for the purpose. The task of the commission is to sort out contractual arrangements of the EES and those procedures, according to which Government's internal decision making over EES issues will be organized.
Foreign Ministry has granted FIM 16 million for the humanitarian aid program at the Persian Gulf. The news was announced at the UN conference on agreed payments in Geneva. The total budget of the UN program is almost FIM 2 billion and it is aimed at helping refugees from Turkey and Iran to return to Iraq.
Meeting of the European Confederation was held in Prague. Participants were over a hundred delegates representing culture, science and politics from all over Europe and the Unites States. Working in groups, they considered Pan-European policies on energy, environment, telecommunications, mobility and culture.
Regarding the Swedish application for EC membership, Finland stated that regardless of our unique neighbourly terms, the integration of our economies and the similar objectives of our foreign policies, Finland is at this stage aiming for a balanced EES-treaty in negotiations over the European Economic Space.
The Parliament Committee for Foreign Affairs visited Luxembourg and Brussels negotiating with the EC Commission, Minister Council, Parliament and the leading members of the Court. According to the Chairman of the Committee Paasio, there seems to be no common view inside the EC on what the possible EC defence co-operation is going to look like.
Approximately 400 scientists from 18 countries appealed to the leaders of the Soviet Union that it should end violence in the Baltic countries and begin negotiations with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on independence. The address was given in June 19th to the top leaders of the Soviet Union and was gathered on the initiative of Professor Pentti Airas. It was delivered to Moscow by Professors Pentti Virrankoski and Alexander Loit.
Trade problems between the Soviet Union and Finland were key issues during President Mauno Koivisto's work visit to the Soviet Union. In Moscow Koivisto met President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbatshov, Chairman of the Supreme Council Valentin Pavlov, President of the Russian Federation Anatoli Lukjanov and President of the Russian Federation Boris Jeltsin. They agreed that Finland and Russia will promptly begin co-operation of government level. Foreign Minister Paavo Väyrynen, who accompanied President Koivisto, had private talks with Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union Aleksander Bessmerthnyh.
Ministers of the EFTA-countries in charge of EES negotiations met in Salzburg, Austria. In the same instance there was also a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, the Chairman country of the EC, and the EC Commission. In the meeting representatives of the EC rejected the interpretation made by the EFTA-countries that the parties have "a wide political unity” over EES. Therefore several EES issues including fishing, the Cohesion Fund and the transit issue are still unsolved. On EFTA's side the responsibility of the success of the treaty was put on Finland, the new Chairman country.
As Croatia and Slovenia declared themselves independent the Government of Finland expressed in its statement a deep concern about the situation in Yugoslavia. Finland recommended that it would be best to resort to the CSCE mechanism already agreed in Berlin.
Prime Minister Esko Aho paid a two-day work visit to Denmark and Norway. The visit did not solve the dispute aver the Bridge.
There was a summer meeting of the European Council in Helsinki in which 400 MPs took part. The Council demanded that it would be taken into consideration when creating new permanent bodies for the CSCE. The meeting considered the issue of the Baltic countries, the application of Albania to become a special guest of the Council and the membership applications of Rumania and Yugoslavia. The Euro-parliamentarians condemned violence in Yugoslavia and suggested that a crisis conference should be called according to the mechanism agreed in Berlin. Members of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union attended the meeting as observers. Presidents of the Baltic Countries, Arnold Rüütel from Estonia, Anatolis Gorbunovs from Latvia and Vytautas Landsbergis from Lithuania were also present. The Baltic Presidents appealed to the international court to end the occupation that started in 1940.
The Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv has definitely handed over its duties of looking after interests of the Soviet Union in Israel. The duties were handed to the main consulate founded by the Soviet Union.
The Council of the Nordic Lapps demanded that the Lapps' rights to their country and own natural resources must be secured in the negotiations on the European Economic Space EES and the European Community EC. The Council insisted in its letter to the EC Commission and to the Nordic Governments that the Lapps must be allowed to take part in negotiations on the EES.
Prime Minister Esko Aho met the Presidents of the Baltic countries, Estonia's Arnold Rüütel, Latvia's Anatolis Gorbunovs and Lithuania's Vytautas Landsbergis at Prime Minister's official residence Kesäranta. The Prime Minister expressed his regret at the violence in Vilnius. They also agreed on common arrangements on roads and telecommunications.
President of the Republic issued an order, according to which Finland will from 1.7.1991 onwards no longer apply the export and import ban on goods to South Africa. A significant part of bans set by Finland, such as the investment ban, were sill left valid. The Special UN Committee for Apartheid Politics in South Africa disapproved of the decision.
Finland became the chairman country of EFTA according to the principle of circulation for the period of 1.7-31.12. (Chairman: Minister of Foreign Trade Pertti Salolainen).
Finland and the United States signed a Treaty-investor agreement that makes it easier for those Finnish companies that make considerable investments in the United States to get a visa.
A three-week CSCE expert summit regarding national minorities, which Finland among other neutral and uncommitted countries has actively been starting up, began in Geneva.
The main subject of the conference of the CSCE countries held in Vienna, because of the situation in Yugoslavia, was sending military observers to Yugoslavia. On the Austrian initiative machinery prepared for "unusual military actions”, on which it was agreed on at the CSCE in Vienna 1990, was used for the first time. The participating countries urged Yugoslavia to stop military actions and to withdraw federal forces back to their bases immediately.
International court in the Hague subject to the UN considered the dispute over the Great Belt bridge between Finland and Denmark. In the meeting Finland made an official demand for the interruption of the construction work of the Great Belt bridge.
Delegation of citizens' organizations made an appeal to Foreign Minister Paavo Väyrynen, in which Finland was urged to increase funds to international environmental aid. The appeal was signed by approximately 12 000 citizens and over 30 organizations. According to the appeal the environmental aid to Eastern Europe and developing countries should be at least 0,3 % of the gross national product.
Emergency meeting of the CSCE countries dealing with the situation in Yugoslavia was held in Prague. It was the first time that the emergency meeting mechanism, agreed on by the CSCE Foreign Minister Council in 19.-20.6., was applied. The CSCE countries requested an immediate cease-fire and urged the Yugoslav army to withdraw back to their barracks. The CSCE countries appealed to the European Council stating that a control group should be sent to Yugoslavia.
Minister of Defence Elisabeth Rehn paid an official visit to the Soviet Union. The visit was hosted by the Minister of Defence of the Soviet Union Dimitri Jazov.
Foreign Minister Paavo Väyrynen estimated that setting up peace-keeping forces for the CSCE countries was a good idea. In his opinion the CSCE forces could participate in peace-keeping operations in the same way as the UN observers and peace-keeping forces do.
Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, General Colin Powell paid on unofficial visit to Finland. Powell met President Mauno Koivisto, Minister of Defence Elisabeth Rehn and Commander of the Armed Forces Admiral Jan Klenberg. The issues discussed were the situation in Europe and the incidents at the Persian Gulf.
The Chairman of the West European Union (WEU) defence committee, Dudley Smith and 18 other members of the committee visited Finland. Smith regarded creating several European peace-keeping forces as useless. He did not support the idea of creating CSCE peace-keeping forces.
The negotiations between the European Community EC and European Free Trade Association EFTA on the European Economic Space EES failed in Brussels due to an argument on fishing between the EC and EFTA countries and disagreements inside the EC.
According to an interluctory decision made by the International court in the Hague, Denmark may continue building the bridges in the Great Belt. The court did not set up an action prohibition demanded by Finland because it thought that the construction work would not reach the disputed areas until after a couple of years.
Chief Councillor of Defence Lieutenant General Aimo Pajunen signed in Moscow a contract on arms trade between Finland and the Soviet Union. The value of the contract is FIM 260 million.
Prime Minister Esko Aho visited the Soviet Union for the first time. He met Soviet Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov who confirmed that barter trade i.e. exchange trade, will be allowed again. Chairman of the Supreme Council of Soviet-Karelia Viktor Stepanov and Chairman of the Minister Court Sergei Blinnikov also attended the meeting.
Government made a decision on interest support for loans issued by Suomen Vientiluotto Oy for joint development programs in Kenya, China and Sri Lanka. Kenya was granted FIM 39,9 million, China FIM 10 million and Sri Lanka FIM 41 million.
Government granted the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd. (Finnfund) a loan worth FIM 53 million. The loan is meant to be a part of Finnish public development aid.
An emergency conference regarding Yugoslavia was held in Prague. It was decided to accept EC's intention to extend the assignments of the observers in Yugoslavia inside the crisis area of Croatia. CSCE countries also offered aid and participation in the negotiations between the parties on the future of Yugoslavia.
Finnish Armed Forces bought arms for FIM 200 million from Germany. These arms had been transferred from the former East Germany. The majority of the contract was about ammunition for artillery and infantry.
Prime Minister Aho participated in the Nordic Prime Minister conference in Reykjavik. The conference focused on the European integration, on the situation in Yugoslavia and on improving the Nordic co-operation after year 1992. Aho agreed with the Danish Prime Minister Poul Schlüter on starting negotiations on the dispute over the Great Belt bridge on August 16th at the Secretary of State level.
The Finnish Ambassador to Copenhagen Johannes Bäckström gave on official reminder to the Foreign Ministry of Denmark about the bridge. Finland asked for further information about the Government bill regarding the construction of the bridge appealing to international treaties about exchange of information.
Foreign Minister Paavo Väyrynen brought up again the issue of forming Europe's own peace-keeping forces. According to Väyrynen the experiences on the crisis in Yugoslavia show that readiness in using CSCE peace-keeping forces and observers need to be improved beforehand.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen met Foreign Minister of Estonia Lennart Meri in Helsinki. The Foreign Ministers discussed the internal situation in Estonia and relations between Finland and Estonia.
Director General of the UN Development Program William H. Draper visited Finland. Draper and the Finnish authorities discussed Finland's intention to decrease development aid funds. Finnish aid to UNDP and its subordinate funds this year is FIM 250 million.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development EBRD, which focuses on the construction of Eastern Europe, granted the first loan of FIM 200 million to Poland. The loan is aimed at founding privatized district heating companies.
Representatives of Denmark clarified the project of the Great Belt bridge in Helsinki. The Finnish delegation was headed by Secretary of State Martti Ahtisaari and the Danish delegation by Secretary of State Ulrik Felderspiel. Negotiations on the bridge were decided to be continued in Copenhagen on August 22nd.
President of the Republic Mauno Koivisto made a decision on Finland's participation in a UN operation in Eastern Sahara (MINURS0- operation). The operation is responsible for organizing and supervising a referendum regarding the status of Eastern Sahara.
The Government of Finland hoped that circumstances would return to normal in the Soviet Union and regretted that the declaration of a state of emergency has interrupted the democratic development in the Soviet Union.
The Nordic Foreign Ministers who met in Denmark, expressed in a joint statement that they regret the development in the Soviet Union which may have serious both domestic and international impact. Foreign Ministers expressed that they expect the Soviet Union to obey all of its responsibilities to which it is committed in areas of disarmament and détente. The Soviet Union was urged to rapidly return into democratic development. Ministers confirmed their support to the legitimate efforts of the Baltic nations to achieve independence through peaceful development. Foreign Minister Väyrynen said that Finland will not consider freezing the environmental aid to the Soviet Union.
A meeting of the Nordic Co-operation Ministers was held in Tampere. The congress covered among other issues the budget of the Nordic Council 1992, co-operation of the Baltic sea littoral states and the future co-operation. Nearly FIM 10 million were reserved for the cooperation between the Baltic countries and the Nordic countries.
The Finnish Government described as positive the information according to which the coup in the Soviet Union had failed. At the same time Foreign Minister Väyrynen responded to the criticism of the Danish Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen who had criticized Finland's careful statements. Prime Minister Aho regarded that the Estonian declaration of independence gives no reason for new statements.
President Koivisto regarded the events in the Soviet Union as unbelievable. According to Koivisto Finland acted in a new manner criticizing for the first time the solutions of the Soviet Union and taking a stand at the meeting of the Nordic Foreign Minister congress on Soviet internal affairs. As to the Baltic countries, the President estimated that Finland need not change its stand. Finland should not consider recognizing the independence of Estonia until the relationship between Estonia and the Soviet Central Administration is clear.
A group of technical experts was set up to consider a solution to the dispute between Finland and Denmark over the Great Belt bridge.
Estonia asked the Finnish Government to acknowledge its independence. Foreign Minister Lennart Meri left a request on the issue to Foreign Minister Väyrynen in Helsinki.
Delegation of the Parliament Committee for Foreign Affairs paid a visit to Chile and Nicaragua.
At a meeting held by the Parliament Committee for Foreign Affairs it was decided that Finland is prepared to begin negotiations in order to establish diplomatic relations with the Baltic states.
The Hungarian President Arpad Gönz paid a state visit to Finland. During the visit a contract on export credit for Hungary worth FIM 42 million was signed.
Finland established official trade relations with South Africa as Minister of Foreign Trade Pertti Salolainen met the South African Vice- Minister of Trade, Industry and Travel David De Villiers De Graaff, who was visiting Finland. Trade between the two countries is believed to increase within a couple of years up to FIM 500 million , which used to be the annual level before the blockade of trade.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen hastened the tightening of the co-operation in the Baltic Sea region. Väyrynen regarded the idea of farming a Baltic Council as an issue of current interest. Finland is prepared to call a meeting in order to prepare the Council.
The presiding officers of the Nordic Council inspected in Värmland how co-operation with the Baltic states should be arranged. The officers were unanimous in that the Council has established its position as a forum for Nordic co-operation, and that accepting new members will not be considered.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen signed with the Estonian Foreign Minister Lennart Meri, the Latvian Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans and the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Algirgas Saudargas documents regarding diplomatic relations. Therefore, the recognition given by Finland to the independence of the Baltic States in the 1920's was completely restored after 50 years.
President Mauno Koivisto and his wife paid a private holiday visit to Iceland. In Reykjavik Koivisto met President Vigdis Finnbogadottir, Prime Minister David Oddson, and Foreign Minister Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson. On his way back home Koivisto met in Oslo the Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Bruntland.
Leading statesmen of the Ministries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania participated in a seminar organized by the Nordic Minister Council. The purpose of the seminar was to familiarize the visitors with the role of the Ministries of Trade and Industry in market economies.
Prime Minister Aho said that Finland would study the advantages and disadvantages of EC membership based on reports. He regarded the European Economic Space FF5 as the immediate objective of the Finnish integration policy. In his speech Aho also enlightened Finland's relations with Russia-Soviet Union. He emphasized the significance of the CSCE, the Nordic and the Baltic countries and other regions near Finland.
Top officials from 35 CSCE countries had an emergency meeting in Prague. The meeting considered the situation in Yugoslavia. The Finnish delegation was headed by Department Manager Jaakko Blomberg.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen estimated that the nature of neutrality has changed and will continue to change, especially as the integration process goes on. The Foreign Minister thought that the core of neutrality is that a country does not belong to a military coalition and that it keeps all decision making on defence in its own hands. The Foreign Minister assumed that the FCMA-treaty between Finland and the Soviet Union will not yet be reconsidered.
The Ministry of the Environment has done on action plan with 16 sections to decrease discharge in Estonia, Karelia and Leningrad regions. Carrying out the ten-year program will cast almost FIM 15 billion. The annual support granted by Finland is FIM 100-300 million.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen visited the Hague, where he had political consultations at Minister level with the chairman country of the EC.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen and Minister of Communications Ole Norrback attended the congress of the Liberal International in Lucerne, Switzerland. The congress supported the recognition of the independence of Slovenia and Croatia, and made a suggestion of making the Baltic states full members of the CSCE.
EFTA had an unofficial Ministerial meeting in Helsinki. EFTA decided to do its utmost for the EES treaty, without giving up its requirements concerning e.g. fishing, trading of fish and aid to the EC development funds.
A delegation of the Parliament visited the Baltic states. During the visit the MPs met leaders of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and had discussions with MPs of each country.
Foreign Ministers of the CSCE met in Moscow in order to receive information about the situation in the Soviet Union.
In an environmental refugee seminar organized by the Finnish Refugee Council and the UNICEF association, the Western countries were warned about masses of people from the developing countries who escape wars and environmental destruction.
A CSCE expert summit covering human dimension was held in Moscow. The 38 member countries of the CSCE agreed on the resolution which provides a much greater opportunity to send observers to regions where human rights ore violated. President of the Soviet Union Gorbatshov asked for rapid aid from the Western countries to accelerate the reforms.
The right-wingers or the European Democratic Union EDU held a chairman meeting in Paris. The resolution stated that all countries should be able to join the EC. The international acknowledgement of Croatia and Slovenia may become of current interest if the fighting still goes on in Yugoslavia. In the meeting the proposal made by the Committee headed by Sirpa Pietikäinen was accepted as the environmental program of EDU.
President Mauno Koivisto received the Presidents of Latvia and Lithuania Anatolis Gorbunovs and Arnold Rüütel. The issues discussed were the protection of the environment, economy, industry, the Baltic rood project, the situation in the countries and future prospects.
Prime Minister Esko Aho visited the EC Commission in Brussels. He had meetings with Jacques Delors and Vice Chairmen Martin Bangemann, Henning Christophersen and Frans Andriessen. Aho explained to the Commission the schedule of the possible Finnish application for EC membership.
President of Albania Ramiz Alia visited Finland. He signed the Helsinki CSCE resolution and met President of the Republic Mauno Koivisto.
Prime Minister Aho hoped that the final decision on Finland's EC membership would be made in a referendum. Aho emphasized that there is no rush in leaving the application. Aho considered that the significance of the Parliament and the Government in decisions on foreign affairs will increase.
The UN General Assembly began its 46th term in New York by accepting the Baltic states, North and South Korea, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia as new member countries. The Saudi-Arabian Ambassador for the UN Samir Shihabin was elected as Chairman. Foreign Minister Väyrynen suggested that in addition to the current division based on GNP, also surplus on foreign trade would be taken info account as states participate in solving the global development and environmental problems.
Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union Boris Pankin stated in a press conference in Stockholm that the Soviet Union is prepared to discuss the FCMA-pact with Finland, if Finland wishes to do so.
Vice President of the EC Commission Martin Bangemann made it clear in Brussels that even "neutral” EC countries must always militarily defend the whole community against attackers. According to Bangemann there will be room for neutral countries also in the future, but suggested that countries like Austria, Sweden and Finland should redefine their neutrality.
A delegation headed by Foreign Minister Salolainen made a tour to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. During the tour possibilities to improve economic relations between the countries were discussed.
The MP meeting of the European Council was held in Strasbourg. The key issues under discussion were the Baltic countries who were welcomed as permanent special guests to the European Council. The European Council recommended its member countries to remove import tariffs and other trade barriers from products of the East European countries.
Finland announced in New York that it participates in the funding of health core projects linked with the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster follow-up projects by FIM 750.000.
President Koivisto calmed the increasing discussion on returning Karelia to Finland. As to neutrality, he said that it is not an either- or choice, but a "traditional attitude” which still has its grounds.
In New York Foreign Minister Väyrynen and his Soviet colleague Boris Pankin agreed on beginning negotiations on the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance in Moscow in mid- October.
Chairman of the Parliament Ilkka Suominen visited the European Council. From Strasbourg the Suominen travelled to Athens in order to participate in the 250-year anniversary of democratic institutions held there.
Foreign Minister Salolainen gave a speech in Brussels in an environmental conference. Salolainen also negotiated on issues regarding the EES among others with the Dutch Secretary of State in charge of European Affairs Piet Dankert and Vice Chairman of the Commission Frans Andriessen.
President Koivisto said that bringing the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance up to date suits extremely well if there is a "clear interest on both sides” to renew the treaty.
As the CMEA finished its operation, the validity of the cooperation treaty between Finland and the CMEA signed in 1913 also ended. At the same time, the Commission of Co-operation between the two parties along with its working party and secretariat founded at the same time with the treaty also finished its operation.
Prime Minister Aho visited Bonn at the invitation of Councillor of the Union Helmut Kohl. Aho also met President of the Union Richard von Weizäcker, Chairman of the Parliament Committee for Foreign Affairs Dr. Hans Strecken and Prime Minister of Nordrhein Westfalen Dr. Johannes Rau. The topics discussed were the Baltic countries, Soviet Union and the European integration.
Deputy Chairman of the Soviet Union Juri Derjabin regretted in an article of the magazine Ulkopolitiikka (3/91) the arisen discussion in Finland over returning Karelia. He affirmed that the position of the eastern border has already been solved and sealed by a pact made in 1947. Derjabin also calmed down discussion on the EC. He urged Finland to hold on to its neutrality and to just observe the development of the EC.
The presiding officers of the Nordic Council met representatives from the Baltic countries in Copenhagen. At the meeting, the use of the funds of the planned Baltic Investment Bank caused disagreements. The Nordic countries wanted the funds to be put into environmental projects, whereas the Baltic countries hoped for reforming and privatization of their agriculture. A team of experts was setup to study the co-operation of the Baltic Council and the Nordic Council.
The Party Council of the SDP accepted the integration statement of the party, according to which Finland should take measures to realize membership in the EC. According to the party, EC membership can be combined with Finnish foreign politics.
Minister of Justice Hannele Pokka signed in Strasbourg the money laundring treaty of the European Council. Finland intends to ratify the treaty by the end of 1992.
EC Commissar in charge for competition Sir Leon Brittan visited Finland. He negotiated with President Koivisto, Prime Minister Aho and Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen.
President of the United States George Bush presented a disarmament program which can already in the near future lead into destroying of the US and Soviet nuclear weapons. The proposed actions decrease in a significant way the possibilities of military confrontation in the Northern sea areas.
In Helsinki the Chairman of the Russian Liberal Democratic party Vladimir Zhirinovski stated, referring to the Karelia-discussion, that Russia can not be forced on its knees. He noted that if the borders are to be adjusted, it will not happen through decreasing Russian territory. He regarded the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance as good.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen affirmed that the treaty arrangements replacing the FCMA-pact will not be expected to include an article that obliges to military co-operation. The Finnish treaty is likely to become similar to the treaties between the Soviet Union and other West European countries. According to Väyrynen Finland will conclude a treaty that replaces the FCMA with the Soviet Union Government and with the Russian Federation a declaration of general nature which mainly deals with trade between the two countries.
Chairman of the Russian Supreme Council Ruslan Habulov announced that Russia will not under any circumstances negotiate on returning back to Finland territories that were shifted under the possession of the Soviet Union in World War II. Habulotov blamed the Finnish press for writing about the returning Karelia to Finland, which he regarded as incomprehensible.
President Koivisto authorized Minister of Defence Elisabeth Rehn to sign a contract between Finland and the United States on the purchases for the defence forces. The contract provides Finnish industry with an opportunity to supply material to the United States defence forces.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen gave a statement on a disarmament initiative made by President of the Soviet Union Gorbatshov. The Foreign Minister noted that the announcement strengthens international trust on the fact that Soviet nuclear weapons will remain in the right hands in the middle of the changes in the country.
Commander of the Armed Forces Admiral Jan Klenberg participated in the second doctrine seminar of the CSCE in Vienna. In his speech he emphasized neutrality and being unollied: "the core of Finnish neutrality is military non-alignment.”
The new Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt visited Finland at the invitation of Prime Minister Aho. Bildt met President Koivisto, Prime Minister Aho, Speaker of the Parliament Suominen and Chairmen of the Parliamentary groups. The topics discussed were EC membership, EES, Finlands fighter purchases and the situation in the Soviet Union and the Baltic countries.
Approximately sixty Rumanians applied for a visa for Finland at the Finnish main consulate in Tallinn. The visas were not granted.
Erasmus accepted Finland officially as the EC and EFTA countries signed agreements regarding the issue. According to the agreements students from the EFTA countries may participate in EC student exchange program commencing in term 1992/1993.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen stated a second time that Finland has no intention to demand the Soviet Union to return Karelia. However, Väyrynen thought it may be possible that the territories of Karelia and Petsamo or the use of them "could be negotiated in the future on a new basis if our neighbour country is prepared to do so.” He also reminded that according to the decisive document of the CSCE borders can be changed within agreements.
A human rights group was founded within the Parliament. It follows the fulfillment of human rights both internationally and domestically.
President of the Republic decided that Finland will apply for the membership to Missile Technology Control Regime MTCR and to the export control regime of the raw materials of chemical and biological weapons and their production devices (the so called Australia group).
Swedish Minister of Defence Anders Björk visited Finland at the invitation of Minister of Defence Rehn. The topics discussed were the Finnish fighter purchases.
Prince of Jordan Faisal Al Hussein arrived in Finland for a private four-day visit. Prince Faisal met, among others, President Koivisto and Foreign Minister Salolainen.
The Parliament group of the Green Party thinks that instead of the FCMA-pact between the Soviet Union and Finland a brief "neighbourhood and co-operation treaty” would be adequate. More important than a broad co-operation agreement would be to negotiate quickly with the Soviet Union and Russia on treaties for environmental protection, mobility, culture and trade. When it comes to security and borders, a crass-reference to the CSCE principles is sufficient.
Government officials began negotiations with the Soviet Union in Moscow on the new treaty on neighbourhood and cooperation treaty replacing the FCMA. The Finnish group of negotiators in the meeting was headed by Chief of Political Department of the Foreign Ministry Jaakko Blomberg. The Soviet group was headed by Vice-Foreign Minister Juri Derjabin. The Finnish delegation gave representatives of the Russian Federation drafts of treaties in order to create direct relations.
Presidents of the Baltic countries, Arnold Rüütel from Estonia, Anatolis Gordunovs from Latvia and Vytautas Landsbergis from Lithuania arrived in Finland in order to sign the final document of the CSCE.
The Government decided to renew Finnish alien policy and alien administration. Prime Minister Aho set up a work group to handle the issue.
At the main committee of the General UN Conference in New York regarding disarmament, Finland insisted on actions to decrease the number of missiles armed with conventional fighting heads in the Northern sea regions.
Finland is prepared to deliver emergency aid to the Soviet Union during the following winter. In the additional budget of the Government FIM 5 million is reserved for medicine and FIM 25 million for food. Finnish humanitarian aid will be aimed mainly at the nearby regions Karelia, St. Petersburg and Murmansk.
The Government of Latvia decided to nominate Anna Zhigure as the first Ambassador for Estonia and Finland. She is a translator by profession and is Chairman of the Latvia-Finland society.
Minister of the Environment Pietikäinen announced in Lübeck in an international Baltic sea protection conference for parliamentarians that Finland is prepared to co-ordinate environmental projects in the Baltic sea region.
The negotiations over the European Economic Space between the EFTA-countries and the EC were completed at parallel ministerial meetings held in Luxembourg. With the EES-treaty a wide free trade zone including 19 countries will be created. Goods, services, capital and persons move freely within the zone beginning from the beginning of 1993.
Minister of Defence Rehn paid an official visit to the United States, where she met the UN Secretary-general Javier Perez de Cuellar. Rehn and the Minister of Defence of the United States Dick Cheyney signed a memorandum regarding the acquisitions of the armed forces. Rehn also met General Colin Powell. The topics discussed were the political and economical problems in the Soviet Union and the situation in the Baltic countries.
In Geneva, Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen attended as the Chairman of EFTA, the meetings of the Free Trade Associations Consultative Committee and Parliamentarians.
Prime Minister Aho visited Dresden with the economic delegation. He discussed with Prime Minister Kurt Biedenkopf among other issues the opportunities of Finnish companies to invest in Eastern Germany and utilize the experiences of the former Eastern Germany in the Baltic reconstruction work.
General Manager of National Board of Waters and the Environment Kaj Bärlund said in a meeting considering the environmental issues of the EC that Finland is prepared to participate in the operation of the European Environment Centre as soon as possible. Bärlund suggested that the Regional Centre of Information of the Baltic sea region should be placed in Finland.
Foreign Minister Paavo Väyrynen travelled to Tallinn in order to inaugurate the Finnish Embassy for Tallinn. Väyrynen met the President of Estonia Arnold Rüütel and Foreign Minister Lennart Meri. One of the topics of the discussion was co-operation between Estonia and Finland.
Swedish Minister of Europe and Foreign Trade Ulf Dinkelspiel visited Finland at the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen.
Negotiations between Finnish and Soviet officials on the treaty replacing the FCMA-pact continued in Helsinki. On January 5th a treaty including nine articles was completed: "A Treaty on good Neighbourhood and Co-operation between the Republic of Finland and the Socialist USSR”.
An expert seminar dealing with the democratic institutions of the CSCE was held in Oslo. Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Bruntland suggested in her opening speech that CSCE should form a wide crisis mechanism through which international conflicts could be interfered in.
Foreign Minister of Sweden Margaretha af Ugglas paid a work visit to Finland. She met President Koivisto and Foreign Minister Väyrynen. Af Ugglas believed that the EES-treaty could stimulate the Nordic co-operation.
Minister of the Environment Pietikäinen and Minister of the Environment of Estonia Tönis Kaasik signed in Helsinki an environment protection treaty between Estonia and Finland. The objective of the treaty is to improve the state of the environment in both countries by improving water and air protection and refuse disposal. A permanent Finnish Estonian work group will be formed to carry out the co-operation.
According to Foreign Minister Väyrynen the seriousness of the Yugoslavian situation is very worrying. He thought that the decision of the Foreign Ministers of the EC over sanctions against Yugoslavia is necessary. He also promised that the Finnish Government would find out how Finland could support the international pressure front which aims at restoring peace and negotiating apolitical solution in Yugoslavia.
Finland completed negotiations on both the free trade agreement and the treaty of investment protection with all Baltic countries. The treaties were signed with Estonia 8.11, Latvia 26.11 and Lithuania 28.11.
President of Russia Boris Jeltsin's special adviser Galina Staravoitova visited Finland. She met President Koivisto, Minister of Trade and Industry Kauko Juhantalo, Vice Chairman of the Parliament Saara-Maria Paakkinen, Prime Minister Aho and Foreign Minister Väyrynen.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen headed the Finnish delegation in the so called 6-24 Minister conference in Brussels. In the conference the Baltic countries and Albania were accepted within the 6-24-aid.
Prime Minister of Slovenia Lojze Peterle and Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel arrived for a visit in Finland. They met Foreign Minister Väyrynen and members of the Committee for Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the visit was to explain the situation in Slovenia and receive support from the Nordic countries for international recognition.
Finland and Albania agreed on economic, industrial and scientific co-operation. The treaty was signed in Tirana.
The autumn conference of the Nordic council was held in Maarianhamina. Under discussion were the extension of the Nordic co-operation into foreign and defence politics and the idea of improving co-operation by moving into majority decisions in some issues. The conference decided that Nordic co-operation will from now on be led by Foreign Ministers. The first session of the NC rejected the membership of the Baltic countries.
The Government of Finland expressed its concern about the rumours from Eastern Timor suggesting that a demonstration in Dili had led into a violent confrontation where lives were lost. The Government regarded it as necessary that the incident should be immediately investigated in order to prevent such situations.
The Government gave a report to the Parliament about the issues of current interest in foreign politics. The report was about the general international situation, Finland and regions close to it, the Nordic countries and the Baltic Sea region, Finnish policy towards Europe and other issues concerning international co-operation.
The Government made a decision on granting funds to promoting environmental protection activities in Finland's near regions in Eastern Europe. The investments are made mainly to improve the exploitation of Finnish environment protection technology in the regions close to Finland in the Soviet Union and the Baltic countries as well as in Eastern Europe.
In Geneva, EFTA decided to cancel the agreement on cooperation made in 1983 with Yugoslavia because of the ongoing civil war. In addition to this, the free trade association decided not to form the development fund that was created last year for Yugoslavia. The capitol of the fund was planned to be around FIM 460 million. The decision was based on the Swedish initiative.
Finland negotiated with the World Bank (IBRD) and the International Financing Company (IFC) in order to develop the neighbouring regions of Finland and the Baltic countries.
The Social Democratic Party urged in its additional party meeting the decision on Finland's membership in the EC and demanded President Koivisto for a more active foreign policy. The party made a wish according to which the acquisition of the fighters should be postponed and Finnish actions in the scattering Yugoslavia be speeded up.
In Stockholm, Foreign Minister Väyrynen attended a conference organized by the Herald Tribune called "Nordic Trade and Investment: Building Bridges to the New Europe”. In his speech Väyrynen dealt with European integration, the difficulties in Eastern Europe and Nordic co-operation.
The Government decided that the limit of the interest support loans granted for development aid will be increased. The value of granted loans between 1981 and 1992 will increase from the current FIM 2.5 billion to FIM 3.3 billion. At the same time next year's development aid funds will be increased with FIM 10 million.
Managing Director of The Centre for Finnish Business and Policy Studies EVA Jaakko Iloniemi began as Prime Minister Aho's representative to find out ways of improving the co-operation between the Nordic countries. The work group consists of representatives of all Nordic Prime Ministers. The work will be evaluated for the first time in March 1992 at the meeting of the Nordic Council in Helsinki.
Finland presented the Government of Kenya a protest of their arresting some of the country's opposition leaders. Finland regretted that the arising democratization process and transition into a multi-party system has seriously been threatened.
In Vienna at CSCE's LTL negotiations, Foreign Minister Väyrynen said that Finland would like CSCE to act more effectively in preventing conflicts. The two pillars of the new European security forum would be negotiations on common arms restriction and an effective centre of preventing conflicts.
Foreign Minister of Chile Enrique Silva Cimma visited Finland. He met Foreign Minister Väyrynen, Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen and Speaker of the Finnish Parliament Suominen. The purpose of the visit was to tempt investors into Chile and sign a treaty of economical, industrial and technological co-operation.
According to a research by the Defence Information Planning Community the majority of Finns support the treaty that replaces the FCMA-pact both with the Soviet Union and Russia. The new Soviet-Treaty was supported by 70 % and the Russia-treaty by 56 % of the citizens. Satisfaction towards foreign policy has decreased significantly. As much as one third regarded that foreign policy is managed well. The share of the satisfied was 62 %. In the research in October-November 963 Finns were interviewed.
President Koivisto met Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on a private holiday in Singapore and November 28th at the Maldives he met President Maumoon Gayoom and Foreign Minister Fathulla Jaamel.
The Ministers of Foreign trade gathered in an annual meeting in Copenhagen. Foreign Minister Salolainen from Finland attended the meeting. The key issues discussed were the EES, the situation in the GATT-negotiation round and co-operation issues regarding Eastern Europe, especially the Baltic countries.
In Helsinki,at the meeting of the Nordic parliamentarians in which the Foreign Policy Councillor of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Nabil Shaath also participated, Foreign Minister Väyrynen suggested that the following phase of the Middle Eastern peace talks due next January could be held in Helsinki.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen participated in the 89th Minister Conference in Strasbourg. In his speech he emphasized the need for developing European Council as part of the new European architecture. According to him, the functions of the Council could also be extended to multilateral Pan-European economic co-operation. Väyrynen noted that the CSCE is a practical co-operation forum mainly for the handling of security issues.
Finnish officers began negotiations with the Russian delegates on an agreement describing political relations, a trade agreement and a frame agreement on the neighbouring regions.
Finland intends to freeze its development aid to Kenya due to the development of the political conditions in the country. The Foreign ministry recommends the Finnish Government that new joint development projects will not be started for now. Authorizations of new projects are postponed until the middle of next year.
Minister of the Environment granted a FIM 7.500.000 aid to deliver oil destruction equipment to St. Petersburg, the Gulf of Finland and the Neva region. According to the agreement, 18 oil collection devices installed in ships will be delivered to St. Petersburg.
At an international seminar on the new European safety architecture, Foreign Minister Väyrynen supported CSCE's own peacekeeping force. Väyrynen stated that the events in Yugoslavia have proved a need for peace-keeping activities based on wide consensus and cooperation.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen paid a visit to Poland. He met the Prime Minister of Poland Jan K. Bieleck, Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski, President Lech Walesa, Speaker of the Parliament Wieslaw Chrzanowski and Speaker of the Senate August Chelkowski. In Poland Väyrynen also attended a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Liberalist International.
The Council of the Social Democrat Party (SDP) demanded that the membership application for the European Community should be forwarded. Forwarding the membership application might stabilize the Finnish economy and cause its new boom. According to party Leader UIf Sundqvist Finland must make it at the same time as Sweden and Austria, whose membership negotiations begin in the beginning of next year.
Ministers of the Environment of the OECD countries got together in Paris to figure out opportunities to strengthen the organizations and policies regarding environment and development issues.
During his visit to London Prime Minister Aho met e.g. Prime Minister John Major. Aho made a request according to which Finland's possible EC membership application would be handled among the first ones, that is, at the same me with the Swedish and Austrian applications.
The Government of Finland refused to supply direct emergency aid to the Soviet Union, but decided to give almost FIM 600 million export support for food deliveries. The appeal for emergency aid to the area of St. Petersburg was presented by the Mayor of St. Petersburg Anatoli Sobtshak a week earlier.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen paid an official visit to Lithuania and Latvia. In Lithuania Väyrynen met President Vytautas Landsbergis, Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius and Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas. In Latvia he met President Anatolijs Gorbunovs and Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans. Foreign Minister Väyrynen gave an Independence Day reception in both countries. The topics of the visit were the situation in the Soviet Union and relations between EFTA and the Baltic countries.
President Koivisto received congratulations because of the Finnish Independence Day. President of the Soviet Union Gorbatshov confirmed his loyalty to all Finnish -Soviet agreements and documents. President of the United States Bush noted in his greeting that the good relations between the Finnish and US Government have helped the UN and other international organizations to face new challenges. President Jeltsin from Russia also joined the congratulants.
Mayor of St. Petersburg Anatoli Sobtshak visited Finland at the invitation of the Government. During his visit Sobtshak met President Koivisto, Speaker of the Parliament Suominen, Prime Minister Aho, Foreign Minister Väyrynen, Minister of Communications Norrback, Minister of the Environment Pietikäinen and representatives of corporations and banks. The key issue was food and other aid to St. Petersburg.
The Treaty on Good Neighbourhood and Co-operation was signed in Moscow.
The EC Board of Ministers made a decision in the Maastricht meeting on the expansion of the Community as soon as next year. The negotiations on membership can begin immediately after the end of internal negotiations on EC budget. Under the circumstances, Finland has among the first countries a chance to become a member of the expanding Community, provided that the application is left in time.
Representatives of Germany reviewed the Karelian wing in Rissala. The visit was based on agreement between the CSCE countries to perform actions that increase trust and security. Germany had left Foreign Ministry the review request on December 3rd.
The CSCE Council had a ministerial meeting in Geneva. The main issues were the EES-treaty and EFTA's relationship with third countries.
Ministers of Co-operation and Chairmen of the Nordic Council had a meeting in Helsinki. Ministers of Co-operation examined the action plan on the Nordic co-operation for 1992-1 995. The Speakers and Ministers also discussed relations with the Baltic countries and developing the Nordic Council's organization.
The first Finnish female peacekeepers travelled to their sites in Southern Lebanon and Golan.
Foreign Minister Paavo Väyrynen wrote in the Ulkopolitiikka-magazine (Finnish Journal of Foreign Affairs) that it is not until at the EC membership negotiations that the answer to the question whether it is possible to combine neutrality and membership will be given. Väyrynen stressed that Finland will remain non-aligned and keep the opportunity for an independent defence policy.
The Parliamentary group of the Coalition party urged the Government to hurry up with the EC membership application. The Government should make the decision on the application so that its handling together with the applications of Sweden and Austria will not be endangered. The SDP also urged Finland's EC membership. The parties insisted that the Government should give an announcement about the EC membership to the Parliament already in February.
Finland supports the former socialist countries of Eastern and Western Europe with over FIM 5 billion. The Government Committee for Foreign Affairs accepted on action plan on the issue for the years 1991-1992. Most of the aid is given to Karelia, St. Petersburg, Kola and the Baltic countries. The objective is to restrain the pressure of immigration and to decrease environmental problems. In addition to this, the Parliament accepted the Government's proposal which grants at most the FIM 400 million worth of humanitarian aid to the Soviet Union and the Baltic countries.
The EC Court regarded a part of the EES-agreement between the EC and the EFTA as being against the Council's Charter i.e. the Treaty of Rome. One of the problems was the EES Court. Foreign Minister Salolainen regarded the statement of the court as a worrying thing when it comes to EES-treaty. He said that the EFTA countries are prepared to negotiate on the details again.
Foreign Minister of Croatia Zvonimir Separovic visited Finland. He hoped that Finland would recognize its independence and send a commission of experts to Croatia in order to gather information about the damage caused by the war, the refugees and the need of humanitarian aid. The Finnish political parties were also hoped for food, medical, clothing, and reconstruction aid.
Finland gave the EC countries information on the Defence Forces in 1992. The structure of the armed forces in case of war remains as it used to be: 11 better equipped brigades of light infantrymen, two tank brigades and 14 less equipped brigades. The purchase plan of 1992 includes 61 vehicles for rank transportation and three T-72 tanks from the Soviet Union and 18 self-mobile crawler-mounted guns.
Finland granted humanitarian aid worth FIM 30 million to the neighbouring regions in the Soviet Union. 40 per cent of the aid will be delivered to St. Petersburg, 40 per cent to Karelia and 20 per cent to the Kola peninsula.
The treaty between the Soviet Union and Finland, which has already been agreed on, became void because of the end of the existence of the Soviet Union at the turn of the year. The Finnish and Soviet Foreign Ministries stated together that the treaty will not be signed. It was also stated that the general political agreement between Finland and Russia, which is currently being prepared, will replace the FCMA-pact that was signed in 1948 between the Soviet Union and Finland.
"Stop the Kola pollution” movement gave Prime Minister Aho an appeal with over 20.000 names in order to decrease pollution in Kola. Those who signed the petition of citizens insisted that the Government should speed up finance and trade negotiations over the renewal of the Kola nickel smelting works.
Representatives of Finland and Russia began the second round of negotiations on a treaty of trade and economical cooperation. One other issue also negotiated was co-operation in the neighbouring regions. Russia asked Finland to recognize the independence of Russia as a state.
Finland paid its first military CSCE evaluation visits in connection with the deed of Vienna dating from 1990.
During Parliament question time Foreign Minister Väyrynen said that signing a convention between Finland and Russia also means recognizing Russia. Väyrynen said that Finland will recognize Slovenia and Croatia if the conditions set up for the recognition by the EC will be fulfilled.
The officers of EFTA and the EC Commission met in Brussels. In the meeting the EFTA-countries and the Community agreed that the remarks made a week earlier by the EC Court sitting in Luxembourg regarding the EES Court are binding. In the meeting the parties agreed on starting negotiations in order to build new juridical models. The rest of the treaty remains unchanged.
The Finnish Government decided to forgive some of the development loans granted for Egypt and to change unused loans into contribution.
Foreign Minister Väyrynen estimated that Finland is prepared to recognize the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States as soon as they ask for recognition.
Finland assists people who have had to leave their homes because of the fighting in Yugoslavia with FIM 2.2 million.
President Koivisto commented the recent events in the Soviet Union and the resignation of President Mikhail Gorbatshov. Koivisto believed that the changes in the former Soviet Union are to stay and hoped that the states would soon be able to continue the already started negotiations on a co-operation program.
Finland recognized the independence of the member states of the CIS. The recognized states were: Armenia, Azerbaizhan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Moldova, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Turkmenistan and Ukraine. Russia was not considered being in need for recognition because Finland regards Russia as the successor of the Soviet Union. Georgia could not be recognized due to its confusing situation.