Helsinki, Finland, 18 June 2018 – The President of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, participated in a panel on the future of multilateralism and the role of the United Nations, as part of the Kultaranta Talks, a foreign and security policy debate hosted by H.E. Mr. Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland.
In his opening statement, he noted that there has been a move away from multilateral values and systems and more voices speaking out against the United Nations. In that regard, he stressed, “In times of global challenges, we can only succeed with a global response. No country can do it alone.”
He also observed that, today, “we have better means of communication but less dialogue.” He therefore called for “a return to dialogue to win the hearts and minds of the general population”, so that everyone understood the importance and benefits of multilateralism.
During his two-day visit, President Lajčák also met with a number of Finnish officials on the margins of the Kultaranta Talks, as well as in Helsinki.
In his meeting with President Niinistö, the topics of discussion were global politics and multilateralism.
President Lajčák commended H.E. Mr. Timo Soini, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, on Finnish leadership in the fields of mediation and conflict prevention. During their meeting, they also discussed pressing issues on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly, including migration.
The President and H.E. Mr. Kai Mykkänen, Minister of the Interior, agreed on the urgent need to strengthen multilateralism. President Lajčák briefed the Minister on the current status of the negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
On the margins of the Kultaranta Talks, he briefly met with H.E. Ms. Anne-Mari Virolainen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, to discuss financing for sustainable development. He welcomed Finland’s initiative to include the Sustainable Development Goals in its national budget proposal.
President Lajčák stressed the important role of parliamentarians in politics and international organisations during a meeting with the Speaker of Parliament, H.E. Ms. Paula Risikko, and the Chairperson of the Parliament Group for Global Issues, H.E. Ms. Satu Hassi. He briefed the two parliamentarians on tuberculosis and non-communicable diseases in relation to the agenda of the General Assembly, and they also discussed climate action.
Mr. Lajčak also met with two former Presidents of Finland, H.E. Mr. Martti Ahtisaari and H.E. Ms. Tarja Halonen. With both former Presidents, Mr. Lajčák agreed on the need to protect multilateralism. He congratulated President Ahtisaari on his engagement with young people in his work and emphasized the importance of bringing the United Nations closer to people, especially youth.
In his meeting with H.E. Mr. Carl Bildt, the former Prime Minister of Sweden and a member of his Team of External Advisers, President Lajčák briefed Mr. Bildt on his work at the General Assembly, and the two exchanged views on current global developments.
While in Helsinki, President Lajčák took the opportunity to visit a reception centre for asylum seekers. He learned more about experiences and challenges on the ground as he listened to the personal stories of people who had left their countries of origins.
Before leaving for Romania, he also visited the Crisis Management Initiative, a Finnish non-governmental organization that works to prevent and resolve conflict through dialogue and mediation, which was founded by Mr. Ahtisaari. President Lajčák talked about conflict prevention, mediation, and current global crises with the chairman, Mr. Alexander Stubb, and his team.
The President continued his travel to Romania this afternoon.
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