Tasavallan presidentti Alexander Stubbin puhe Ukrainan rauhankonferenssin aloitusistunnossa Sveitsissä 15.6.2024 (englanniksi)

Ladies and gentlemen

I think there are cynical people outside this hall thinking if there is any point in having a summit on peace. The simple answer is to say, as a matter of fact, if you don’t talk about peace, you can’t achieve it. The mere fact that we have sixty heads of state and government and one hundred countries here is an achievement in itself.

I think for us in the global west, it’s very important to listen to the voices we have heard here today. I have listened to the President of Kenya, the Presidents of Ghana and Chile, the Prime Minister of Qatar and the Foreign Minister of Saudi-Arabia. There are wars raging around the world and they are calling for peace as much as this one.

Those who don’t come from next to Russia must also understand that a lot of us are  worried. We have 1,300 kilometers of border with Russia. Since the 14th century we have had over 30 wars and skirmishes with Russia. Russia invaded Finland in World War II. We lost ten percent of our territory, including the land where my grandparents and father were born. This is why the reaction from our side has been so vehement.

This has been a good week for peace. Why? Because of this Summit, because of the G7 Summit, because the EU negotiations for Ukraine started this week, and because of the support our NATO Allies give to Ukraine. I think Ukraine actually starts the path towards peace from a position of strength. Much stronger than it was three weeks ago, let alone three months ago.

When we talk about peace, it’s important to talk about the nature of peace. And here it is very important to not only listen to President Zelenskyy, but to all of those who say there has to be a just and sustainable peace, which is based on international law and the UN Charter. It also means we need to have a follow up to this meeting as soon as possible, because peace is very rarely an end-state. It’s always a process.

Let me finish off by saying what my predecessor and mentor, President Martti Ahtisaari, once said: What humans begin, humans can also end. I hope this summit will be the first step into the path towards peace. Slava Ukraini.

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