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Finland to sign off on NATO assistance deal

Finland has agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding with NATO stating the nation’s readiness to receive assistance from foreign forces and to maintain military assets such as ships and aircraft. Defense Minister Carl Haglund says that the agreement is not a step towards NATO membership.

Hävittäjiä kiitoradalla.
The deal would involve Finland agreeing to maintain military assets such as planes and ships. Image: LT

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is similar to the military interoperability deal to which Sweden has now also subscribed. It is founded in Finland’s commitment to NATO’s Partnership for Peace, and to support its Planning and Review Process (PARP).

“In this time of peace it mainly relates to armed forces involved in training exercises,” stated Minister Haglund. “In theory, in times of crisis we are better qualified for receiving assistance from other EU countries, the Nordic countries and NATO countries.”

Minister Haglund also stated that the deal was a matter of principle. He said that, in his opinion, it would be a positive move if the nation enhanced its ability to receive support during times of crisis.

Tuomioja: Deal not politically binding

However, Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said that the deal is not a binding political commitment, although he indicated that there is a danger that some may feel that it is. He implied that such assumptions could be an obstacle to the pact going forward.

Finland’s President and top security and defense ministers will meet to consider the contents of the MOU and a deal is expected to gain the rubber stamp in coming months.

The completion of the MOU was first reported by Central Finnish newspaper Sunnuntaisuomalainen.

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