HELSINKI, June 29. /TASS/. Russian and Finnish diplomats held consultations in Helsinki on Friday to discuss aspects of a meeting between Russian and US Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, expected to take place on July 16, a high-ranking Russian Foreign Ministry official told journalists.
"Yes, this topic [a Russian-US summit] was discussed. Our colleagues wanted to know any aspects of the talks in Moscow," said Andrei Kelin, director of the ministry’s European cooperation department.
"The Finnish colleague are also getting prepared. For these ends, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto plans to hold bilateral meetings with Putin and Trump, working on his agenda. He announced it yesterday. That is why, the Finnish side informed us in detail about the matters and the results they would like to have from the discussion of these issues, in particular, problems of the Arctic region," he said.
The Kremlin press service said on Thursday a meeting between the Russia and US leaders would take place on July 16 in Helsinki. Washington later confirmed the date and the venue.
According to Kelin, Russia and Finland are in good contact, with diplomatic consultations held several times a year and covering practically the entire European agenda, including international organizations, security issues, cooperation with the European Union and military political matters.
"The latest consultations were of special significance as Finland takes over presidency in the Council of Europe at the end of this year and the situation there is very difficult, with a crisis that may have very serious consequences. It is linked not only with the absence of our lawmakers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for quite a long time but also with certain problems stemming from Azerbaijan’s membership in the Council of Europe (last year, PACE passed resolutions criticizing the state of democratic institutions and human rights in Azerbaijan that were described by Baku as biased document meant to exert pressure on the country - TASS). Moreover, Turkey has stopped paying a larger part of its contribution to the Council of Europe," he said.
"The sides also discussed what Finland’s presidency can do in the Committee of Ministers and how it can influence the situation, bearing in mind that its presidency coincides with two major events: the 70th anniversary of this organization next May and elections of a new secretary general in June," he noted.
Apart from that, according to Kelin, Russian and Finnish diplomats discussed the outcomes of the EU summit on migration problems, as well as military political matters linked with NATO’s activities, including Finland’s participation in large-scale drills planned for early autumn and the work of the Russia-NATO Council.