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Tuomioja: Security Council seat would bring pressure

The foreign minister says that a possible Finnish seat on the UN Security Council would increase pressure on the country to take part in UN peacekeeping operations.

Erkki Tuomioja
Tuomioja on A-studio Image: Yle

Finland has been actively lobbying for a two-year stint on the council beginning next year.

Interviewed on the Yle current-affairs programme A-studio on Wednesday, veteran SDP politician Erkki Tuomioja noted that Finland is no longer the kind of non-aligned country that it was in the late 1980s.

That is when it last held one of the Council's 10 non-permanent seats. The body also has five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the UK and the US.

"Certainly, of course, it increases the expectations and pressures if we approve some crisis management operation, and if we're then asked afterwards whether we're prepared to join in," said Tuomioja. "We'd have to have strong reasons for not participating."

3 nations vying for 2 seats

Finland is seeking the traditionally-rotating Nordic seat within the Council's Western European and Others Group (WEOG). Australia and Luxembourg are also seeking the two open WEOG seats. The Security Council election is be held on October 18 for terms beginning January 1.

Finland joined the UN in 1955, a decade after its inception. It began taking part in peacekeeping operations the following year. Since then more than 50,000 Finns have participated in more than 30 operations. It has been on the Security Council in 1969-1970 and 1989-1990.

Tuomioja was first elected to Parliament during Finland's first stint on the Security Council in 1970. He is now in his second term as foreign minister, having held the post between 2000 and 2007. Prior to that he served as minister of trade and industry.

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