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Prime Minister Juha Sipilä spoke at the Doha Forum

Government Communications Department 15.5.2017 17.47 | Published in English on 16.5.2017 at 15.19
Press release 236/2017

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä attended the 17th Doha Forum in Qatar, which is one of the world’s best-known places where decision-makers and policy-makers meet annually. He also met the country’s top leadership.

This year the Doha Forum concentrated on the themes of development, stability and refugees. In his speech, Prime Minister Sipilä said that he is not entirely satisfied with the way Europe is looking at the world’s refugee crisis.

‘Instead of focusing only on "managing" refugee flows, we really need to understand why people are on the move. We have already talked about this a lot, but I’m not always sure whether the talk in the meeting rooms is connected with the reality on the ground,’ said the Prime Minister.

‘We must also remember that when talking about refugees, the issue is not about numbers, but about precious human lives and human rights,’ Sipilä stressed.

In his speech, Sipilä reminded us of the importance of mediation. Most refugee flows are a result of man-made conflicts. It is therefore logical that the most effective way of stemming refugee flows is to prevent conflicts and work for peace.  

Mediation is also one of Finland's foreign policy priorities. In its mediation work, Finland underlines that women's participation is a crucial component in any peace process to reach sustainable peace. In his speech, Sipilä said that the best guarantee for strengthening development and stability worldwide would be to reach the sustainable development goals of Agenda 2030.

During his stay in Qatar, the Prime Minister also met the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Minister of State for Defence Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah. The discussions with Qatar’s top leader, the Emir, clearly showed that there is a desire to strengthen trade and investment relations between the two countries. Qatar has expressed an interest in Finland’s knowhow in health care and education, for instance.

Prime Minister’s Doha Forum speech 

Photos available for the media

Inquiries: Anna-Kaisa Heikkinen, Special Adviser (International Affairs), tel. +358 40 7483 867