President Sauli Niinistö has expressed his aggravation with a report alleging that he and ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja (SDP) disagree over a number of security policy issues.

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President Sauli Niinistö has rubbished claims that he and the parliament do not see eye-to-eye on the direction of security policy in Finland.

“One of the downsides of this job is that some insist on forcing ideas and motives into your head that simply do not exist,” he writes in his regular column on the official website of the President of the Republic.

Niinistö is referring to an article published in Iltalehti on 6 May, 2017.

The article claims that ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja (SDP) has successfully solicited support across party lines for a strong-worded statement expressing his opposition to Finland participating in military exercises organised by Nato and providing military assistance to Estonia. The statement has received support mainly among representatives of the Social Democrats, the Left Alliance and the Centre Party, according to Iltalehti.

Niinistö describes the article as inexplicable.

“I worked together with Erkki Tuomioja during his tenure as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and we have continued to be in regular contact, a fact that I appreciate. We have never parted ways in disagreement nor is that the case now,” he asserts.

He reminds that he has repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that the parliament has the last word also on foreign and security policy issues.

He points out that he has regularly been in contact with parliamentary committees in order to establish “parliamentary grounds” for his actions in the field of foreign and security policy making. “No disagreements have arisen in those meetings. I will continue to keep in contact [with the committees].”

The journalist credited with the article was offered an opportunity to discuss the issue with Niinistö. “He unfortunately did not seize the opportunity,” laments Niinistö.

Tuomioja, similarly, rejected the claims made in the article as “inexplicable” and questioned the motives of publishing such articles in a statement on Facebook. “It makes you wonder at whose initiative and for what purpose articles are such as this written,” he said.

“We are very pleased with the widespread consensus found in the parliament in discussing the government’s foreign and security report,” added Tuomioja.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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