Finland ready to back new nuclear disarmament talks, says president Niinistö

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto during a joint news conference with Russian President following their meeting in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, on August 22, 2018. Niinistö said Monday he is concerned for the future of nuclear non-proliferation treaties. (Pavel Golovkin/AFP/Getty Images)
Finnish president Sauli Niinistö delivered the opening statements to kick off Finland’s quarterly national defence course on Monday morning at Helsinki’s House of the Estates, where he shared his concern for the future of nuclear non-proliferation treaties.

He said that he plans to bring up the topic at upcoming meetings with leaders of the world’s most powerful countries.

“Talks associated with the Paris Peace Forum later this week will provide a good opportunity to defend the preservation of a rule-based security system,” Niinistö said.

“I will take up the matter with state leaders and indicate Finland’s readiness to facilitate the start of new round of negotiations,” Niinistö added.

Niinistö warned against the deterioration of Cold War-era treaties that prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

“Having an arena without treaties would present enormous risks. The Cold War of our past would be surpassed by an Ice Cold War,” Niinistö told the gather defence community.

Destabilising forces have returned

Niinistö said Finland has to stay vigilant if it wishes to maintain its security.

“Many of the stabilising elements from our past that we consider constants have become shaky. Destabilising forces that we thought had been consigned to history are returning. New dangerous factors are also rising up alongside them,” he said.

Niinistö also emphasised in his speech that joint exercises with NATO are a good forum for practicing Finland’s military capabilities, and that no other security policy implications should be read into them.

He pointed out that Finland has made many efforts to strengthen its network of international relations, as 10 different bilateral defence cooperation agreements have been entered in to in the last few years.

“We can’t put all our money on only one bet; we’ve got to maintain a wide array of partners,” Niinistö said.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Nearly 2,000 Canadian troops take part in NATO’s largest exercise since Cold War, Radio Canada International

Finland: Russian military conducts confidence-building visit to Lapland Air Command in the Finnish Arctic, Radio Canada International

Norway: NATO wants to keep tensions low in the High North, says Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Radio Canada International

Russia: Russian navy boosting armament on northwestern bases, satellite images show, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Major deal between Sweden’s Saab and U.S. Air Force a “sign of closer transatlantic ties”, says defence expert, Radio Sweden

United States: New symposium brings U.S. military’s attention to the Arctic, Alaska Public Media

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