Tuomioja Confident in Iraq Deal

Yle Uutisten artikkeliarkisto

Finland's Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja held talks in Washington with his US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday. After the meeting, Tuomioja said he believed agreement would be reached on a new UN resolution on Iraq.

Tuomioja said that Powell had stressed that the handover of sovereignty to an Iraqi government would go ahead as planned.

China has proposed changes to the UN draft resolution that would set a time limit on the U.S.-led multinational force's stay in Iraq after the occupation ends officially on June 30.

The existing draft asks for an effectively open-ended mandate for the U.S.-led force, renewable in a year.

However, the Tuomioja and Powell did not discuss the UN draft resolution nor the US military presence in Iraq in greater detail, because Finland is not a member of the UN Security Council.

Tuomioja said that the US has taken a more positive approach to international cooperation.

"They admit that things haven't quite turned out as they hoped. That's partly why they have put more emphasis on multilateral cooperation and the role of the United Nations", Tuomioja summed up.

Recently, some pundits have levelled criticism at the government's handling of Finnish-US relations. Tuomioja vehemently rejects the criticism and says relations are good.

The Finnish Foreign Minister departed Washington for Guadalajara in Mexico, where he will be joined by President Tarja Halonen to attend the EU- Latin America summit.

YLE24, Finnish News Agency, Reuters