US Defence Secretary James Mattis said that ties between Finland and the United States have never been stronger. Mattis met with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö in Helsinki on Monday ahead of a meeting of Northern Group Defence Ministers on Tuesday.
“Relations between the United States and Finland have never been stronger,” Mattis declared during a brief press conference Monday afternoon.
Mattis’ comments followed bilateral talks in Helsinki with President Sauli Niinistö on Monday. Mattis is on a two-day visit to Finland and met separately with Niinistö ahead of a plenary session of Northern Group defence ministers on Tuesday.
During the press conference, the US defence secretary congratulated Finland on its independence centennial and noted that Finns have had to fight for independence.
“Even after 100 years of freedom, this country shows no signs of complacency,” Mattis commented.
He thanked the country for its role in the fight against terrorism.
For his part, Niinistö said that talks with Mattis focused maintaining global peace. He also extended condolences to the US over a deadly shooting in Texas that killed at least 26 people yesterday.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Surveillance and search and rescue top Canada’s Arctic defence priorities, Radio Canada International
Norway: NATO trains in anti-submarine warfare in northern waters, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Russian ballistic missile creates giant glow in Siberian sky, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Sweden’s biggest military exercise in 20 years criticised, Radio Sweden
United States: Here’s what’s in the U.S. Defense Department’s new Arctic strategy, Alaska Dispatch News