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Tue, 27 Aug, 2013 02:44:43 AM
3-day annual meeting of heads of diplomatic missions begins
FTimes Report, August 27

The Foreign Minister, Erkki Tuomioja on Monday warned that tougher action would be taken against violation of secrecy related to the private and government data protection, said an official press release.
 
Expressing his position regarding the current debate about cyber security, the foreign minister mentioned the development of new technology in the digital age and recent information that has come to light concerning its use for spying.

The achievement of international norms that take into account data protection, the freedom of the internet as well as the interests of security, and to which all of the central actors would be truly committed, should be followed, said Tuomioja while inaugurating the three-day annual meeting of the heads of the diplomatic missions abroad in Helsinki.
 
File picture of Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala. Photo Lehtikuva
It is very difficult, but not impossible, Toumioja said, adding that the key issues are adherence to the principles of the democratic and transparent rule of law and ensuring the freedom of the internet.
 
“Intervention in the case of violations requires, among others, rigorous international norms, the implementation and monitoring of these norms, as well as the fact that there must be consequences in the case of violations," warned the minister.
 
In his speech, the Foreign Minister also emphasised that Finland's foreign and security policy is based on a comprehensive concept of security as well as a strong commitment to international cooperation.
 
File picture of the Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, Alexander Stubb. Photo Lehtikuva
Pointing out the highly developed good governance and democracy, as well as all the Nordic welfare state based on equal treatment for all, the preservation and further development of which will continue to be central in the future as the strengths of Finland, the minister also said that the gender equality and the learning outcomes of the country's educational system are the achievements of Finland that could be incorporated into various forms of cooperation with other countries.

Speaking on the occasion, the Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala said that a responsible and human rights-based foreign policy also serves Finland's interests.
 
"We get bad news weekly about persecution of those defending human rights, and civil society is under increasing pressure in many countries. This news does not come from some reality of its own but from the same countries with whom we are engaged in wide-ranging foreign policy,” said Hautala, adding that for this reason, human rights and foreign policy cannot be kept separate.
 
In her speech, Hautala also stressed the importance of transparency. She noted that the authorities and civil society in Finland have a long history of good cooperation; this also holds for the Foreign Ministry. Hautala considers it important that the policy of transparency is continued and developed further.

The Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, Alexander Stubb in his speech emphasised three main points: Finland must continue to pursue reforms in order to maintain its competitiveness; European welfare cannot be created by means of directives; and the next few years will see a period of moderate integration.

Secretary of State at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Pertti Torstila emphasised that the future efficacy of Finnish foreign policy will continue to depend on the country having a wide network of foreign missions.
 
In his speech he said that the ministry for Foreign Affairs is fully committed to the Government's ongoing savings drive, at the same time as it is facing growing expectations of service delivery.
Latvia foreign minister Edgars Rinkēvičs was present at the meeting as the keynote speaker on the opening day instead of Brazil’s Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota who cancelled his visit due to other engagements.

About 100 heads of diplomatic missions  are participating the three-day meeting.

President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen  is scheduled to attend the meeting on Tuesday and deliver their speeches on various contemporary issues.
 
 

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