Halonen calls UN climate meeting a success
President calls for more recognition of role of women in conflict prevention
If President Tarja Halonen, Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva (Nat. Coalition Party), and Foreign Trade and Development Minister Paavo Väyrynen (Centre) are to be believed, Finland's United Nations policy is continuing in a clear and consistent manner.
The three were gathered on Wednesday at the Finnish Consulate right next to UN Headquarters.
In her speech at the UN General Assembly Halonen emphasised the need for reform in the UN, especially for more efficiency in the UN's Economic and Social Council. She also called for making the UN Human Rights Council, which has operated for a year, into a credible institution.
"We should spare no efforts to continue the overall reform of the UN", she said
Halonen also called for the establishment of a UN agency that would focus on gender equality issues and the status of women. She said that an under-secretary-general should be appointed for the unit.
The Finnish President also called for a greater emphasis on women in conflict prevention and peacemaking.
Halonen expressed her concern at the growing violence in Myanmar, and called on the international community to take action.
The President said that Monday's meeting on climate change was a success.
"I feel that it gave us the necessary political support, as we head towards Bali."
"This autumn and winter will be crucial in climate issues. The atmosphere is becoming very positive for the birth of a climate front."
Halonen had dinner with both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US President George W. Bush. "Before I sat at Bush's dinner table, Bush noted that this was the third time that we met today", Halonen laughed.
"At the dinner table we discussed elections, democracy, and the significance of the media. Later in the evening we discussed family matters, including the upcoming wedding."
President Bush's daughter Jenna Bush is expected to be married soon.
Foreign Minister Kanerva's UN week includes more than 30 meetings, including a meeting of European Union foreign ministers, as well as a meeting between the EU and the Russian Foreign Minister.
Foreign Trade and Development Minister Väyrynen held talks with the three UN undersecretaries-general responsible for development issues.
In addition, Kanerva and Väyrynen will be discussing the continuity of the Helsinki process with their Tanzanian colleagues during the rest of the week. The Finnish government is expected to decide this autumn on the continuity of the process.
"I have been moving around mainly with the Foreign Minister here in New York, but if Minister Väyrynen had been with me, I would have told everyone that there is the man with the money", Halonen said, explaining Paavo Väyrynen's role.
Development minister Väyrynen decides how much support Finland pays to different UN organisations.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Speech by President of the Republic of Finland Tarja Halonen at the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 26 September 2007