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Home NATIONALAsks to evaluate effects of NATO membership, other defence cooperation
Wed, 27 Aug, 2014 12:08:00 AM
President addresses Finnish envoys
FTimes-STT Report, August 27
President Sauli Niinistö was speaking at the meeting of diplomats in Helsinki on Tuesday. Photo Lehtikuva.
President Sauli Niinistö on Tuesday said the consequences of applying for a NATO membership and other defence cooperation have to be evaluated extensively.
The president’s remarks came at a meeting of the Finnish diplomats in Helsinki.
“The issue of NATO membership cannot be addressed by listing only pluses and minuses like in a spreadsheet,” said Niinistö in his address to the diplomats.
The president emphasised that the country should not underestimate the need for strengthening European defence cooperation, although at the moment it has not answered the wish of the Finns.
The president reiterated that the country’s defence cannot be outsourced, preferring Finland to take responsibility for its own defence as well as to maintain a credible national defence
President Sauli Niinistö and Foreign Minister ErkkiTuomioja were coming to the meeting of diplomats in Helsinki on Tuesday. Photo Lehtikuva.
Niinistö said despite uncertainty regarding the security policy, the country is not faced by any military threat.
“The situation in the neighbouring areas is stable,” he said.
In his speech, the president also reflected on the crisis in Ukraine.
He said, “Finland’s position on the events in Ukraine has been clear from the beginning. We condemn the violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.” 
The president said it is important to note that the situation cannot be detached from the broader context of the Russian-Western relations. He said diplomacy is now the biggest challenge.
The future path which the crisis in Ukraine will take is still unknown, surmised the president. At the same time, he said, there is a need to be self-critical.
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