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NCP wants Finland to quit landmine ban treaty

Finland should resign from the Ottawa Treaty that bans landmines, the National Coalition Party decided in its party congress on Sunday. Newly elected chair Alexander Stubb promised to promote the cause. The move was swiftly criticised by a Parliamentary Defence Committee leader.

Miinanraivaaja työssään.
Searching for mines in Cyprus in August 2006. Image: Katia Christodoulou / EPA

The National Coalition Party has called for Finland to break away from the Ottawa Treaty that bans landmines in a move approved by the party congress in Lahti on Sunday.

The proposal was tabled by NCP students in Häme, South-Eastern NCP youth and the Järvenpää party groups. Party leaders opposed the motions, however they nonetheless approved  in a party congress vote.

Stubb pledged help

New party chief Alexander Stubb said he was not surprised the motion passed, and that he would support it.

“The party congress decision on the Ottawa Treaty is something that I will of course promote as the party leader,” Stubb said.

Stubb added that ‘to promote’ does not necessarily mean furthering the cause actively.

“It depends how one interprets the word ‘promote’,” the new party chair and Finland's next Prime Minister noted.

Centre Party’s Kääriäinen questions NCP move

Centre Party member, and Vice chair of the Parliament’s Defence Committee, Seppo Kääriäinen said he was perplexed by the National Coalition Party’s decision to oppose the Ottawa Treaty.

Kääriäinen noted that the Parliament voted in support of the treaty back in November 2011. Headed by Jyrki Katainen, the National Coalition Party also supported the treaty, which all EU members have also signed.

“Led by Prime Minister Stubb, will this be the first significant decision where Finland parts ways with the EU?” Kääriäinen asked.

According to the Defence Committee Vice chair, Finland has successfully dealt with the treaty since the late 1990s in a spirit of political consensus.

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