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I would like to thank President Obama for convening this event, as we seek to boost the United Nations Peacekeeping efforts. Finland warmly welcomes the Secretary-General’s initiative on a peace operations review. In support of this, together with Uruguay, Rwanda and Indonesia, Finland is hosting a ministerial meeting tomorrow.
In Finland, we have a proven track record of participation in peacekeeping operations: 50,000 Finnish men and women have served in 30 different operations since the Suez Crisis in 1956. With some 340 troops, Finland is the sixth largest contributor to UN peacekeeping in Europe. In per capita terms it is number two in Europe. We have shown strong commitment to peacekeeping for decades.
Today, I would like to announce our commitments in the following five areas:
First, we will serve as the lead nation in the Finnish-Irish battalion in UNIFIL until the end of 2016, contributing over 300 soldiers. After this term, Finland will contribute soldiers to UNIFIL for a further two years.
Second, we will increase our contribution to MINUSMA by up to 20 soldiers, by adding military observers to the operation.
Third, regarding the DPKO’s request for support in 2017 under the UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness Systems, we pledge an Amphibious Task Unit (up to 275 personnel), Special Operations Forces (tailored, with up to 200 personnel), and a deployable CBRN Laboratory (with a maximum of 55 persons from 2018).
Fourth, we will also offer more police officers for UN operations, with the aim of deploying 20 police experts in peacekeeping or specialist teams in 2016.
And fifth, we will further increase our capacity in building, training and education activities in support of peacekeeping in Africa, particularly the Eastern Africa Stand-by Force.
Our commitment to peacekeeping and crisis management remains strong. Let me add that Finland just sent 50 soldiers to train Peshmergas in OIR in Northern Iraq. We are supporting Resolute Support in Afghanistan by contributing 60 soldiers, and continue to participate in UNTSO and UNMOGIP.
We also want to do more with respect to Women, Peace and Security, a priority area which we have supported in countries such as Afghanistan, Kenya and Nepal.
Our commitment to peacekeeping and crisis management remains strong. Finland will do its share in finding new ways to respond to new needs.