Press release 51/2014
4 March 2014
Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja will take part in the meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon in Paris on Wednesday, 5 March.The International Support Group was established under UN auspices in September 2013. The Support Group has thus far met twice in New York. Meeting in the past as a small group, the Support Group has grown to include a few European countries.
The meeting will be opened by French President Francois Hollande. Among others, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman will attend. Foreign Minister Tuomioja will address the meeting.The aim of the meeting in Paris is to discuss the current situation in Lebanon and to demonstrate the international community’s support in a situation where Lebanon bears the greatest burden of the consequences stemming from the Syrian crisis. A huge wave of refugees has headed to Lebanon, and already nearly 900,000 Syrians fleeing the war have registered as refugees in Lebanon.
Finland is taking part in the meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon among other reasons because the country has had a significant role in the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission. Finland has command of the Finnish-Irish battalion. At most 350 Finnish soldiers may participate in the UNIFIL peacekeeping operation. Under the current plans, Finland will participate in the activities of the battalion until 2015.Finland has taken part in the UNIFIL operation almost continuously ever since 1982. In addition, Finland has contributed 20 million euros in humanitarian support for the Syrian crisis. At the International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria held in Kuwait in January 2014, Finland announced 7 million euros in additional support. Some of this support is channelled to Lebanon.
Additional information: Katja Kalamäki, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, mobile tel. +358 40 590 7973; Helena Tuuri, Head of the Unit for the Middle East and North Africa, mobile tel. +358 50 527 5409