Secretary General of the Military Alliance NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, began a two-day official visit to Finland on Monday together with the North Atlantic Council of NATO Ambassadors.
The event is the first time that members of NATO’s most important political decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, are visiting Finland in an official capacity.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö discussed bilateral relations with Stoltenberg at the Presidential Palace on Monday morning, followed by a joint press conference in which the Secretary General said that Finland’s door to join the military alliance was still open.
“Finland is one of NATO’s closest partners and we greatly appreciate the fact that we have been able to strengthen this partnership in recent years,” Stoltenberg said. “While we work closely together, NATO also fully respects Finland’s strong independent security policy.”
President Niinistö has previously stated that Finland’s accession to NATO is possible, and stated at a press conference on Monday afternoon that relations between the Nordic countries and NATO have developed in recent years and “continue to develop”.
“We have a lot in common about how we can guarantee the most important thing in the lives of ordinary people, which is peace,” Niinistö said.
Stoltenberg’s visit to Finland comes at a time when NATO-Russia relations are at their lowest since the end of the Cold War, the Secretary General said.
News agency Reuters reported Earlier this month, NATO expelled eight Russian members from the alliance because they were considered a “dark Russian intelligence officer.”
Russia responded earlier last week by announcing that it would close its NATO mission in Brussels and withdraw diplomatic accreditation from NATO offices in Moscow. reported By the BBC.
Stoltenberg and the members of the Council will also meet the Prime Minister of Finland. Sanna Marin (SDP), Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (green), Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen (Cen), Speaker of Parliament Anu Vehviläinen (Cen) and the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense before leaving for Sweden on Tuesday.
The President’s Office confirmed on Monday that Niinistö will travel to Moscow on Friday to meet with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
“In terms of NATO-Russia relations, the deterrent is at a good level, but the dialogue is not working very well. In my discussions with Russian leaders, I have emphasized the need for dialogue between Russia and the West,” Niinistö told the press. conference on Monday afternoon.