Defence Minister: Finland wants defence pact before U.S. elects new president

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Finland would like to sign off on a proposed defence cooperation agreement with the United States before Americans elect a new president, says Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö. However the minister told Reuters news agency that he believes bilateral cooperation between Finland and the U.S. will continue regardless of who enters the White House after the November election.
U.S. army soldier and Stryker armored vehicle during "Arrow 16" mechanised exercise of the Finnish Army in collaboration with U.S. Army Europe's 2nd Cavalry Regiment's Mechanized Infantry Company in Niinisalo, Finland, on May 4, 2016. (ELIAS LAHTINEN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. army soldier and Stryker armored vehicle during “Arrow 16” mechanised exercise of the Finnish Army in collaboration with U.S. Army Europe’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment’s Mechanized Infantry Company in Niinisalo, Finland, on May 4, 2016. (ELIAS LAHTINEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Speaking in an interview with Reuters news agency, Finnish Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö (no relation to President Sauli Niinistö) said that Finland is in a hurry to sign on the dotted line to cement a defence cooperation agreement with the United States.

Niinistö told Reuters that Finland would like to seal the deal before the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in November.

“We want to get the agreement ready during the autumn. However, I am convinced that our cooperation with the USA will continue regardless of which candidate is elected president,” Niinistö told the agency in a telephone interview.

The proposed bilateral defence cooperation agreement would cover military training, information exchange and research and does not include any clauses compelling either side to provide support during combat situations.

Finland has recently signed a bilateral defence agreement with the UK and has deepened defence cooperation with neighbouring Sweden.

With files from Reuters

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