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Thu, 25 Feb, 2016 12:01:30 AM
Defence training with USA in spring
FTimes – STT Report, Feb 25
 
President Sauli Niinistö talked to journalists on Wednesday at his official residence in Helsinki. Photo – Lehtikuva.
President Sauli Niinistö on Wednesday said the military training with the United States scheduled for spring in Finland is intended only to practise technical and military strategy skills to defend the Finnish territory.
 
Talking to media at his official residence of Mäntyniemi, the president said Finland’s line in respect to important exercises are the Crisis Management Exercises and field exercises prepared by the foreign ministry. 
 
Niinistö said he understood that the exercise has attracted attention because it is more expansive than before and that the United States is involved.
 
Information on future exercises will be made clearer, said the president. 
 
The president also criticised the foreign policy decisions made by past administration which led to the president and the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy not examining such exercises. 
 
It was decided during the regime of former president Tarja Halonen and former prime minister Matti Vanhanen that not all exercises prepared by the defence ministry should be examined in detail.
 
The president refused to be embroiled in the tug of war between Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Finance Minister Alexander Stubb where Sweden or the United States is Finland’s most important partner in defence policy.
 
He said the country’s defence is based on four pillars. 
 
According to the president, the first pillar is based on the country’s own capability. The second is cooperation with Western countries which includes EU, Sweden, USA and NATO. 
 
The third pillar is cooperation with Russia. 
 
The president, however, did not mention cooperation with other international organisations like the United Nations, but the President’s Office confirmed that such cooperation are still one of the pillars.
 
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