Security was the underlying theme of the long-anticipated meeting between President Sauli Niinistö and President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington DC, the United States, on Monday.
“President [Trump] and I exchanged views on several international issues,” stated Niinistö.
“We discussed the importance of the transatlantic bond between the European Union and the United States,” he revealed, identifying the growing presence of Nato and the United States in the Baltic Sea Region and Europe as an important contributor to stability.
Finland will also do its part, asserted Niinistö.
“We promote dialogue. To reduce risks, Finland has proposed steps to improve flight safety in the Baltic Sea. They are small but positive steps in re-opening dialogue between Nato and Russia. We remain committed to supporting Afghanistan, and we’re a dedicated member of the global coalition against Isis,” he said.
Niinistö also pointed out that bilateral relations between Finland and the United States are currently more expansive than ever, ranging from security and defence co-operation all the way to trade and innovation.
Trump, meanwhile, called particular attention to cyber security.
“Finland is a leading expert in cyber security,” he estimated. “The United States is a very proud partner of Finland’s European centre of excellence for countering modern threats, including cyber attacks.”
The United States is also looking forward to the leadership of Finland as the chairman of the Arctic Council, according to Trump. The Arctic, he highlighted, is of great economic and strategic importance to both Finland and the United States.
Also Niinistö drew attention to the significance of the region and, especially, to the efforts to preserve it: “We can't afford to lose the pristine Arctic nature. Finland firmly believes that business and environment can both be winners in the Arctic. A good example is reducing black carbon.”
Finland’s commitment to the joint efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan were also acknowledged by the US President. Finland is currently participating in Nato’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan with a contingent of roughly 30 military personnel and has deployed troops to provide military training to local troops in Northern Iraq.
“Americans are grateful for your steadfast support as an ally in the fight against terrorism,” said Trump.
He also delivered a message to the people of Finland following the suspected terror attack that took place in Turku, South-west Finland, on 18 August: “We stand in solidarity with you against the terrorist threat. We must all work together to deny terrorists safe havens, cut off their finances and defeat their very wicked ideology.”
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva