President Sauli Niinistö has admitted that he was surprised by the willingness of Russian President Vladimir Putin to add his proposal on the use of transponders by aircraft over the Baltic Sea to the agenda of a meeting of the Nato-Russia Council scheduled to take place this week in Brussels.
“That'll of course measure how serious each stakeholder is about the issue,” Niinistö reminded at the Nato Summit in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday.
“But the issue is bigger than itself, because I at least think that it's an indication of whether or not there's willingness to relieve the tensions, or at least [to make sure] the tensions don't keep on growing,” he said according to a press release from the Office of the President.
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Niinistö brought up the issue of transponder use in a meeting with Putin at his summer residence in Naantali, South-west Finland, on 1 July.
Relations with Russia were discussed in Warsaw especially during a working dinner between the leaders of the allied nations and those of the European Union, Finland and Sweden, according to the press release. Niinistö revealed that the discussions also dealt with the dual-track policy of the defence alliance – a policy of deterrence and dialogue.
“Dialogue was highlighted more clearly than in previous discussions. It's in good balance with the use of deterrence to apply pressure,” he estimated.
Niinistö himself drew attention to the efforts to alleviate tensions in the Baltic Sea Region.
The European Union and Nato, he also suggested, should develop their co-operation especially in the field of hybrid warfare.
“It represents a common interest firstly because it's a relatively unknown area and secondly because most of it, the non-military dimension, is in an area where Nato has no organisation or major capabilities. The EU's structure will perhaps provide a better foundation for being involved in that area and then bringing together ideas and operations,” he said.
Niinistö also sat down with Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, to discuss the ongoing efforts to settle the crisis in Ukraine.
“Discussions are taking place all the time, both between Russian and European leaders and between Russia and the United States. It's my understanding that there are a lot of serious attempts,” he commented after the meeting.
He also had bilateral meetings with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, Stefan Löfven, the Prime Minister of Sweden, and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany. On Saturday, he took part in a meeting between the leaders of nations taking part in Operation Resolute Support, a Nato-led advisory and training programme in Afghanistan.
Finland was also represented in the summit by Timo Soini (PS), the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jussi Niinistö (PS), the Minister of Defence, and Jarmo Lindberg, the Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Annu Marjanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi