Address to the Diplomatic Corps by President Tarja Halonen on 1 March 2012
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Let me first thank you for the excellent cooperation. I have had the pleasure of working with you in connection with various visits and through other events. Warm thanks also to you for the kind wishes I have received upon leaving the office of the President of the Republic.
According to the Constitution of Finland, foreign policy is directed by the President of the Republic. The international policy environment has witnessed significant changes. Globalization has strengthened interdependence between the countries. To be able to tackle global challenges including sustainable development, we need a strong multilateral system. This does not mean, however, that bilateral relations between states become less important, quite the contrary, in fact.
Changes in international politics have given rise to new actors in international relations. Active participation by civil society and businesses should be encouraged and valued. The increasing role of women, both in the field of diplomacy and in a broader context, is positive development.
The role of nation states in international cooperation remains paramount. The tasks of diplomacy, and of diplomats, have changed over time, becoming increasingly diverse. Despite the new actors and the faster flow of information, diplomacy continues to be irreplaceable when it comes to the analysis and exchanging information, and to the development of relations between states.
I have been involved in international affairs for more than 20 years and served as Minister for Foreign Affairs for many years. Thus I have had the pleasure of knowing many of your countries already for a long time. I would like to thank you all once more for your valuable support in strengthening the relations between our countries. Your interest in our Northern country has been wider than only performing official duties.
I wish you the best of success in your important work. I will continue to be active in international affairs, and I am confident that we will meet again.