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PM Calls for Greater Peace Mediation Role

Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi says that Finland wants a more prominent role as a mediator in international peace efforts. In an interview Saturday with YLE, the Prime Minister said that she will be calling upon all the political groups in Parliament, including the opposition, to discuss how Finland's role can be strengthened. She added that she has already discussed the matter with President Tarja Halonen.

PÄäministeri Mari Kiviniemi Ykkösaamun vieraana 4. syyskuuta 2010.
Image: YLE

"This should be a national project, not just the Prime Minister's," Kiviniemi told YLE.

On Friday Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and his Swedish counterpart, Carl Bildt, proposed the EU establish its own peace institute funded by all member states. However, Kiviniemi stressed the desire to raise Finland to the position of a major player in mediating peace efforts.

SDP ready to participate

Appearing in the same YLE interview programme, the secretary of the Social Democratic Party, Mikael Jungner, reacted with interest to the Prime Minister's proposal.

"This is an important issue and an interesting idea. Thanks for the invitation, we're sure to be there," said Jungner

Next cabinet

Prime Minister Kiviniemi was unwilling to take a stand on the platform of the cabinet that will take office after next spring's elections, or on any possible upcoming spending cuts. In response to charges by the opposition that the present cabinet is delaying any major decisions until after the elections, Kiviniemi said that it is continue to pursue a policy of stabilisation in economic affairs.

"The government is doing everything it can to get Finland back on the path of growth and being able to create as many jobs as possible. The budget has many detailed points that further this goal."

As for the composition of a post-election government Kiviniemi stated,”The Centre Party is ready to have government formation talks on the basis of the election results. However, the time for talks will be next spring and I consider it important that it is only then that the negotiations on the government base begin."

Too early for presidential game

Kiviniemi also declined to speculate on who will be taking part in the 2012 presidential election race.

"The Centre Party will nominate its own candidate in November of next year. First we will have parliamentary elections. I think we should talk one election at a time. But, of course, in time we'll be aiming at the next president being a Centrist," she said.

President cautious on peace moves

President Halonen considered any move towards facilitating international peace efforts by the Kiviniemi government as a positive development, and said she believes this will be of benefit in Finland's aim of getting a term on the UN Security Council.

However, she also was cautious about Finland's prospects to take a leading role in mediation the world.

Addressing an SDP women's gathering on Saturday, Halonen drew a picture of developing a role of peace mediator as a demanding task.

"I would say with caution that one does not become a great power in this, or in other ways by just wanting it, rather it is a matter of a certain kind of policy in international affairs," said the President.

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