Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja
Statement in the Finnish Parliament on the Terrorist Attacks
September 13, 2001
The General Affairs Council of the European Union met yesterday in special session.
The European Union expressed its full solidarity with the United States. The
European Union also offered its help in managing the consequences of these catastrophic
The terrorist strikes that took place in the United States are a crime against
humanity. The international community will not remain inactive after these atrocities.
International cooperation to prevent terrorism and to implement international
law has to be strengthened, especially through the UN. The fight against terrorism
is an endeavour common to all states. We need stronger international order and
Those guilty of these attacks have to be found and brought to justice. The rule
of law on the international scale has to be strengthened. The perpetrators have
to be tried in a court of law, along with those who shelter them. They have
to be punished - all of them - but only they.
Who committed this crime and what their motives were, we do not yet know for
certain. The victim of the strikes was not only the United States, but democracy
and humanity as well. We have to act according to our values. They do not include
warlike talk and fomenting thoughts of vengeance, nor assigning collective guilt
based on religion, culture or nationality. Such confrontational responses have
to be avoided.
The entire world has been shocked by these strikes. But we have to turn the
aversion and shock caused by them into an opportunity, and on this global consensus
we have to build a new quest for peace. None of the parties to the conflicts
in the world today has expressed support for these acts. The international community
must now pressure them to denounce violence and commit themselves to the pursuit
In the United Nations, there has been a consensus since 1994 that terrorist
acts are always crimes, irrespective of who commits them, or what their targets,
political motives or goals are. Terrorist acts cannot be justified on any religious,
political or ideological grounds.
On the basis of this world-wide understanding, international cooperation against
terrorism has been developed, and it must be further strengthened. We should
build on this ground and we should refrain from measures that might cause the
basis of the cooperation to crumble.
In the opinion of Finland, in defending ourselves against terrorism, we have
to stress international cooperation, collective action and respect for human
The European Union asks its member countries to take, without delay, all measures
necessary to maintain an enhanced level of security especially as far as air
traffic is concerned. The councils of ministers of the interior, justice and
transport at their forthcoming meetings will be assessing how these measures
are being implemented and whether there is a need to add to them. The General
Affairs Council has asked the Presidency and the High Representative to report,
as soon as possible, on concrete measures to enhance such aspects of the joint
foreign and security policy, and judicial and home affairs policies, as would
be helpful in the fight against terrorism, in cooperation with the United States
and other countries.
As a result of the terrorist strikes, the North Atlantic Council, on the initiative
of the United States, yesterday approved a statement declaring that the strikes
have caused a situation where Article 5 of the Washington treaty is applicable,
with its obligations for consultations and collective defence.
This is the first time in the history of NATO that the organization has expressly
stated that a situation may warrant the application of the obligation for collective
defence. In the statement, it is noted, however, that Article 5 is applicable
only if the strikes against the United States have been directed from abroad.
According to Article 5, an armed attack against one Member State is regarded
as an attack against all of them. At its summit meeting in 1999, NATO approved
a new strategic concept, that in a limited way included the threat of terrorism
in NATO strategy.
The statement approved yesterday refers to the decisions of the Washington summit.
It notes that at the summit it was anticipated that NATO has to meet security
threats, especially terrorism, that differ from those that originally led to
The NATO statement - which was not discussed at the General Affairs Council
of the European Union - only applies to the members of the military alliance.
We do not need, and we are not able, to anticipate the attitudes towards future
measures that are still completely open.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs continues to trace Finnish citizens in the
affected areas of the United States. We cannot exclude the possibility that
the terrorist acts have also had Finnish victims, although there is no specific
reason to think that there have been any.