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President and Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy discuss underwater infrastructure and Hamas terrorist attack on Israel

Government Communications Department
Publication date 11.10.2023 13.16 | Published in English on 11.10.2023 at 15.30
Press release 444/2023

On Wednesday 11 October, the President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy received a briefing on the situation regarding critical underwater infrastructure in Finland's neighbouring areas. The discussion follows damage observed in the Balticconnector gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia, which was likely caused by outside activity, as well as a fault detected in a telecommunications cable between Finland and Estonia.

The President and the Ministerial Committee noted that Finland is cooperating closely on the matter with Estonia in particular, but also with other EU and NATO partners. The level of preparedness concerning Finland’s critical infrastructure has been raised. In terms of security of supply, the situation remains stable.

The President and the Ministerial Committee received an update on the attack by Hamas on Israel. Fighting continues in the area and the number of deaths is increasing. Finland condemns acts of violence against civilians and the taking of hostages. The humanitarian situation in Gaza was already dire before the start of the events. Israel’s blockade is weakening the situation civilians are facing in the region. The President and the Ministerial Committee highlighted the central role of international humanitarian law in all actions.

The President and the Ministerial Committee also discussed the situation of Finnish citizens in Israel and the Palestinian territories. There are still more than 150 Finns who need help leaving the country. It is still possible to leave the country using commercial connections, but it has become more difficult. A further deterioration of the security situation cannot be ruled out.

Due to the unpredictability of the situation, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is making arrangements to evacuate Finnish citizens and permanent residents of Finland in need of assistance. Those in need of assistance will be evacuated to Finland to the extent possible, or to the closest safe area, with their consent and at their own expense. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is working on the arrangements in close cooperation with the other Nordic countries and aims to provide an evacuation opportunity in the next few days.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will be in direct contact about the details of the arrangements with Finns who have submitted a travel notification and, if necessary, with Finnish travel organisers. Other Finns who need help leaving Israel and the Palestinian territories can contact the Ministry’s 24/7 service centre (+358 9 1605 5555, [email protected]).

Inquiries: Petri Hakkarainen, Director General, tel. +358 295 350 353, Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Petri Peltonen, Under-Secretary of State (critical underwater infrastructure), tel. +358 295 063 662, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment; Laura Eiro, Director General, tel. +358 295 342 166 (critical underwater infrastructure), Ministry of Transport and Communications; Sofie From-Emmesberger, Director General (Hamas terrorist attack on Israel), tel. +358 295 350 802 and Jussi Tanner, Director General, Consular Services (consular matters), tel. +358 295 350 246, Ministry for Foreign Affairs