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Finnish president hails Russia’s role in country’s security policy

December 01, 2014, 16:28 UTC+3 HELSINKI
“We maintain most friendly ties with our neighbors,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said
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Finnish President Sauli Niinisto

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Klimentyev

HELSINKI, December 1. /TASS/. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has hailed the country’s relations with Russia as one of the core pillars of Finnish security policy.

Niinisto told Finnish TV channel MTV3 on Monday there were four such pillars, including firstly the country’s defense sector, which needed to be developed, and secondly various partnerships, like those with Sweden and NATO.

Relations with Russia were also among those pillars, the president said. “We maintain most friendly ties with our neighbors,” he said, adding that this was also a matter of security.

Lastly, the country encouraged international cooperation within the United Nations and other structures, Niinisto said, noting the need to maintain a balance between all those elements.

At the same time, the president said Finland would make its own decisions about relations with NATO regardless of other countries’ positions. Neither Sweden nor Russia could influence those decisions, he said, adding that Finland’s possible membership in the alliance would certainly change its relationship with Russia.

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