Address to the Diplomatic Corps by the President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö on 1 March 2012

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Thank you very much Ambassador Rumjantsev for the kind words, which you addressed to me in your capacity as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps. I would like to take this opportunity to express my warmest thanks to you, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, for the congratulations and kind messages I have received since my election.

With these positive contacts in mind, I rest assured that I have a solid basis in deepening my personal relationship with you, and the mutual relations with the countries and organizations that you represent here in Finland.

As you are aware, the amendments to the Finnish Constitution entered into force today. The basic provision concerning our foreign policy remains unchanged. This will ensure that the tradition of a close cooperation between the President, the Government and the Parliament in defining our key positions will continue. Transparency and predictability in our foreign and security policy will be maintained.

During the recent years, we have witnessed in many respect very challenging and turbulent times in the global context. The economic situation has dominated not only the European Union agenda but the wider international agenda, too. Also, the global security environment has been in the focus due to the persistent conflicts that remain to be solved and the events that have taken place in Northern Africa and the wider Middle East. In addition, ensuring international development and comprehensive security calls for continued determination in addressing common global challenges such as combating climate change and extreme poverty.

Finland as a Member State of the European Union will continue to be an active actor and partner in the multilateral cooperation and strongly committed to building of international peace and security. With this in mind, we are seeking to become a non-permanent member in the United Nations Security Council. We need your support in this endeavour.

Close bilateral relations remain of crucial importance and an essential part of our foreign and security policy. I would like our ties to be as broad and as deep as possible involving all actors of the society from Heads of State and government representatives to Parliaments, citizens and businesses. And, the role of professional diplomats, as you yourselves, is vital in strengthening the ties between our countries.

With these words, I wish you best of success in your important work. My wife and I look forward to cooperating with all of you.