Our time is characterised by uncertainty and conflicts around the world. The war in Ukraine and the unrest in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans have in many ways become part of our daily lives. In this day and age, we need to work even harder for peace and security. It is our duty as a responsible nation to participate in joint efforts to secure peace throughout the world. You, the peacekeepers who serve in the missions, are on the front line in this work.
Finland has long and honourable traditions in crisis management and mediation. Your important work is part of this legacy and the process of passing it on. Currently, there are approximately 450 Finnish peacekeepers serving in ten military operations.
Your actions in crisis areas build stability and security. Through participation, we are also enhancing the security of Finnish people. At the same time, your improved competence will serve our national defence capability. Your service in challenging conditions, far away from home, to help others is an example of a Finnish soldier. Local people, trainees and our partners recognise your skills, ability to cooperate and your reliability stemming from fairness.
In some respects, the conditions in ongoing operations have become more challenging than before. Your work involves hazards and risks that we do not encounter in Finland. Take care of your fellow soldiers and service safety.
Thank you for your meritorious service for peace and Finland. I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful Christmas and the best of success for 2024.
President of the Republic of Finland