Stubb: Finland to delay implementation of cluster weapons ban
Dublin treaty goes too far for Finland
Finland, which has opposed the total ban on cluster weapons, is to delay the implementation of the ban, says Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb (Nat. Coalition Party), because an international conference in Dublin on the matter decided on a measure that would ban a significant proportion of Finland’s existing cluster weapons.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs on Thursday described the ban as “comprehensive”.
“We will make a broad-based analysis, and before December we will decide whether or not to sign the agreement”, Stubb said on Thursday in Stockholm. “The good news for us is that there was no total ban on all cluster weapons. The bad news was that the agreement did not end up with the kinds of loopholes that we would have wanted.”
Stubb also said that he has not been flooded by e-mails from opponents of cluster weapons, as happened to Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre).
Finland did not achieve the goals that it had set in the talks, and it now faces requirements of destroying an existing type of cluster weapons, says Pauli Järvenpää, the top civil servant at the Ministry of Defence. “The agreement did not provide for the kind of exception that we reasonably hoped that we could get”, Järvenpää said on Thursday.
Järvenpää insists that the Finnish defence administration has constantly supported restrictions on cluster bombs for humanitarian reasons.
“The existing cluster weapons that we have, and the types that are under development meet the strictest humanitarian criteria”, Järvenpää says.
Finland has one type of cluster weapon that the new treaty bans. “Systems to replace them cannot be found easily, and when they are acquired, it will be a seller’s market, so the price will certainly be high.”
Järvenpää believes that civic groups will will note Finland’s decisions on the matter.
“On the other side of the balance is the defence of our own country. It is a strong argument, to find a solution that would also satisfy the needs of the defence ofthe country”, Järvenpää said.
He noted, however, that experts have only begun the detailed analysis of the treaty. As it is an international treaty, the matter is primarily the responsibility of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The government will be the one to decide whether or not Finland joins the treaty.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Seven questions about cluster weapons (3.6.2008)
Finnish cluster weapon purchases raise criticism among NGOs meeting in Peru (24.5.2007)
Defence Ministry official says replacing cluster weapons would be expensive (23.5.2007)
Government: Finland does not endorse total ban of cluster weapons (14.5.2007)
Cluster shell acquired by Finland banned in Norway (9.3.2007)
Brigadier General Räty: Finland will not get cluster bombs that linger in terrain (23.2.2007)