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Monday, October 03 2022

Helsinki: Nordic Defence Ministers meet in Finland to discuss cooperation

Finland to discuss cooperation
Photo Credit : IANS

Helsinki: The Defence Ministers of Finland, Norway, and Sweden met to discuss ways of boosting cooperation when all five Nordic countries are NATO members.

Questioned by the media after Thursday’s meeting on the idea of establishing a NATO base in Finland, Finnish Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen said he was not ruling out any possibilities, reports Xinhua news agency.

Kaikkonen spoke to the reporters after meeting with his Norwegian and Swedish counterparts, Bjorn Arlid Gram and Peter Hultqvist.

Finland and Sweden officially applied to join NATO in May this year.

In a joint statement, the Ministers said one of their main objectives is to coordinate and develop the three countries’ operations planning.

“The increased military presence and activity in northern Europe underlines the importance of avoiding incidents,” they said, adding that “the security situation has deteriorated” due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

The statement underlined the importance of North Calotte and adjacent areas of strategic importance to the countries’ defence.

In the Calotte area, the territories of the three countries converge.

“This cooperation provides an opportunity to reduce vulnerabilities and increase common security in the northern parts of our countries,” the Ministers said.

During the week, there have been divergent statements on the Finnish political scene regarding a possible future NATO presence in Finland.

The opposition conservatives have spoken in favour of the idea, while the Left League, a party in the government coalition, is against it.

Regarding possible bases, Kaikkonen said: “Now is the time to secure fast membership. Discussions lie ahead on what the presence of NATO will be in Finland and Sweden when membership has begun; what kind of command structure NATO will have here.”

The three Ministers concluded that talks are required on the aims of the Nordic countries within NATO, he added.

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