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Gaza Summer Games -valokuvanäyttelyn avajaiset: pysyvän edustajan, suurlähettiläs Jarmo Viinasen puhe New Yorkissa 29.11.2010 - Suomen pysyvä edustusto, YK : Ajankohtaista

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Puheet, 29.11.2010

Gaza Summer Games -valokuvanäyttelyn avajaiset: pysyvän edustajan, suurlähettiläs Jarmo Viinasen puhe New Yorkissa 29.11.2010

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here with you today. It is a distinguished honor to be part of the inauguration of this great exhibition titled “Gaza Summer Games”. 

Today we have also commemorated the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which adds special importance and relevance to this occasion.  

I am also glad, that Mr. John Ging is here with us, as he is personally responsible for the success of the annual Summer Games, together with his staff and the youth of Gaza. 

Finland is proud to support the Games, and we are planning on continuing our support in the future. These Games symbolize hope, and they contribute in a concrete meaningful way to a better future for the people of Gaza. 

I am personally very taken by the pictures: by the smiling faces, the energy, the optimism and the collective spirit. These photographs portray children playing cheerfully, even making world records, despite the particularly grave hardships under which they have had to live for the past three years.

This exhibition also serves as a reminder to us all, that the enduring crisis in Gaza needs to be urgently solved in a just and lasting way. 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

It is unacceptable and unsustainable that the people of Gaza keep on suffering because of an unjustifiable blockade. It is intolerable that no meaningful reconstruction has been allowed. It serves no one’s interests that a battered civilian population is not given the possibility to recover and recuperate its life and economic activities. 

As Foreign Minister of Finland has repeatedly called for: the blockade must be fully lifted. 

In fact Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb visited Gaza in October. There is a picture of him here – with children of course. He was troubled by what he saw, but he was also hopeful because of the optimism he sensed in particular at the UNRWA schools he visited. It was also clear to him, that one of the most pressing needs is permits and construction materials for new schools – for 100 new schools. 

FM Stubb has been actively promoting an urgent solution to the plight of the Gazans, and he has been encouraging his EU-colleagues to do the same. 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

On behalf of my Government, let me also thank UNRWA more generally for the invaluable work it does to help improve the living conditions and promote the human development of the more than 4.7 million Palestine refugees. 

We commend UNRWA’s staff for their tireless efforts undertaken in often very difficult and sometimes even dangerous circumstances. It is a well known fact, that UNRWA plays a key role in promoting stability and peace in the region.

Just and lasting peace is what we all hope and strive for. However, the current situation is not encouraging. Direct talks launched in early September came to a halt as settlement construction resumed. 

My Government’s position on this issue is clear, settlement construction is not only unconstructive, but it is illegal. Finland, nor the EU, will recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties. It is evident that illegal settlement activity endangers a two state solution.

Finland supports the efforts of the United States as it tries to bring the two sides back to the negotiation table. A negotiated solution is the only acceptable and workable way forward.

Our solidarity with the Palestinian People is deep and broad, and we will do our share to assist in the realization of our common goal, that of an independent, democratic, viable and contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with the State of Israel.

Peace is also what the children in these pictures dream of – and peace is their right.

Thank you very much.


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Päivitetty 3.12.2010

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