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Finland raises tactical nuclear weapons in NATO disarmament conference

HELSINKI, May 29 (Xinhua) — Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini on Monday urged arms control effort to be widened to include tactical nuclear weapons.

Soini made the appeal when addressing the NATO annual conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. The two-day conference began in Helsinki on Monday.

Soini said that tactical nuclear weapons are currently not covered by any legally binding and verifiable international agreement “as they should be”. Soini urged practical condifence-building measures related to tactical nuclear weapons.

Soini also said there should be a clear line between the tactical nuclear and conventional weapons. He specified that the difference should be reflected in military doctrines and exercises.

Soini said the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty remains a high priority. Finland is contributing to the international monitoring system (IMS) network and is actively developing the verification system, he said.

The conference in Helsinki is the 13th annual meeting on WMD issues. The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria was a key theme for discussion, media reports said.

Sannamaaria Vanamo, who heads the arms control unit at the Finnish Foreign Ministry, told national broadcaster Yle that no official statement was issued on the issue in Syria, and the investigation would be made in the Helsinki meeting.

Some one hundred participants from both NATO members and its partners as well as international organizations have taken part in the meeting.

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