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Halonen Lobbies for Finland on UN Security Council

Finnish President Tarja Halonen has been canvassing support for a place for Finland on the United Nations Security Council for the term beginning in 2013. The issue was raised in a meeting with Secretary General Ban Ki- Moon on Thursday.

The last time Finland voted on the Security Council was at the beginning of the 1990s. The Council comprises five permanent members: China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States, and 10 rotating members with two-year terms.

The President was unable to meet with the country's political leadership during her three-day US visit. Sources say that apart from President George Bush, who declined an earlier request for a meeting, President Halonen would have liked to meet with Democratic heavyweights such as House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

While the highest echelon of US politicians could not fit Halonen into their schedules, California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger could. However, that invitation came too late to be added to the President's itinerary.

Halonen said that the new government’s policies could however awaken interest in Washington as well as other places. She added that in spite of everything, relations between the two countries are on firm ground. "Personally, I am of the opinion that old friends should always get together; because of this, I think that the USA should meet with Finland’s different leaders," she declared.

President Halonen's next official visit to the United States is scheduled for the autumn.

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