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Sun, 08 Feb, 2015 12:08:30 AM
FTimes – STT Report, Feb 8
 
Prime Minister Alexander Stubb spoke at a party rally in Pori on Saturday. Photo – Lehtikuva.
Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja on Saturday downplayed Prime Minister Alexander Stubb’s remarks expressing his desire to consider NATO membership application in next parliamentary term.
 
In a telephone interview with the news agency STT on Saturday afternoon, Tuomioja said he hopes for continuation of the debate in another context.
 
Earlier, in an interview with the Finnish language daily Helsigin Sanomat, the prime minister said his party, the Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party), believes that the country together with Sweden could come up with a joint report on the NATO issue.
 
According to Stubb, such cooperation has also been proposed by the new chair of Swedish Moderate Party, Anna Kinberg Batra.
 
“It is a new opening, but we have to be able to engage in an open NATO debate. Consequently we make it clear that the position of National Coalition Party is that Finland should join NATO,” said Stubb.
 
Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja. Photo – Lehtikuva.
Tuomioja on his social media Facebook account wrote that, instead of strengthening security, joining NATO by Finland and Sweden would bring about uncertainty and further tensions within the country’s borders and surrounding environment.
 
“I do not understand the talk that such an alliance would represent an open and international Finland,” said Tuomioja.
 
Earlier, on April 12, 2014, the then prime minister Jyrki Katainen and Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja made contradictory remarks on Finland’s stance about joining NATO.
 
In an interview with Yle, Katainen said he believed that Finland should seek NATO membership.
 
In a sharp reaction, the foreign minister that time said the country did not need NATO membership. 
 
Katainen, however, pointed out that his opinion regarding the membership was personal and that Finland’s official position had not changed. He added that the government would not apply for NATO membership.
 
 
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