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Home NATIONALTuomioja terms permanent NATO base in Baltic region regrettable
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Thu, 04 Sep, 2014 12:00:31 AM
FTimes- Xinhua Report, Sept 4
File picture of Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja. Photo Lehtikuva.
Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said on Wednesday that Finland does not want its territory to be used for actions that neighboring Russia could view as hostile.
 Tuomioja told national radio that the possible opening of a NATO base in Estonia would not immediately affect the position of Finland. However, a permanent NATO base would "as such" be regrettable, he stressed.
A base could increase military polarization in the region, said Tuomioja, adding that an increase in military tension is always deplorable and generally brings "nothing good."
He made the remarks when U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia early Wednesday for a short visit prior to the NATO summit in Wales later this week.
Obama said it is important to discuss "increasing the presence of our allies in the region and that the solutions that have already been made in recent months become permanent."
There has been speculation in Finland that the upgrade of NATO presence in the Baltic area could involve a permanent base.
Tuomioja predicted, though, that the end result at this stage is an increase of troops on a rotating basis.
During the NATO summit in Wales, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto will be signing a protocol with NATO facilitating Finnish hosting of NATO troops.
Finnish officials earlier underlined that entry of NATO troops into Finland would be subject to Finnish approval.
Finland is not a member of NATO, but participates in the Partners for Peace cooperation. 
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