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Former Finnish PM points to signs of improvement in Russia-West relations

May 24, 2017, 17:20 UTC+3 HELSINKI

"Snow has been slowly but surely melting but this process required compromises, " Alexander Stubb said

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Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb

Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb

© AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Heikki Saukkomaa

HELSINKI, May 24. /TASS/. Relations between Russia and the West have been gradually improving, Former Finnish Prime Minister, member of the country’s parliament Alexander Stubb said in an interview with TASS on Wednesday. According to him, in order to achieve further progress, the parties need to come to compromises on many issues.

"I think the situation today is much better than it was in the spring of 2014, as well as in 2015 and 2016," Stubb said. "Snow has been slowly but surely melting but this process required compromises. The truth is that we need each other," he stressed.

He pointed out that "without Russia, it is impossible to resolve the Syrian crisis or control the situation concerning Iran." At the same time, in Stubb’s words, "Russia will have to make changes in its foreign and security policies." In his opinion, "Russia needs to understand that no one opposes it in the West, particularly in the European Union and Finland - on the contrary, we have been seeking for ways to cooperate."

"A quarter century has passed since the Cold War ended, and now we don’t need another Cold War but we should search for the best possible way to interact and cooperate. This is the direction the world has taken. I can see that Russians are much more ‘included’ in the global community nowadays than they were in the Soviet era, while the West, and Finland in particular, now better understands Russia. Together with Russia, we need to outline a course for cooperation," the former Finnish prime minister added.

Stubb expressed concern over the fact that Russia still considered NATO to be "a relic of the Cold War."

"I would like Russia to have another view of the alliance, to consider it as a crisis management organization which also seeks to ensure its security," he said. "This is why, as someone involved in global politics, I dream that one day we will be able to improve the West’s relations with Russia, while Russia and NATO will once again get closer to each other and work together in order to build a security space," Stubb noted. "Cooperation is in our common interest, while confrontation is kind of a voice from the past," he concluded.

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