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Halonen Lukewarm on Sending Hornet Jets to Libya

President Tarja Halonen said in an interview with YLE that she considers it unlikely that Finnish Hornet fighter jets would be sent to take part in the no-fly zone operation in Libya.

Tarja Halonen
Image: YLE

The president said that, to her knowledge, no request has come through regarding the jets.

“We are not, in this respect, a country that really specialises in air forces,” she pointed out.

Halonen noted that Finland has traditionally participated mostly in long-term civil-military cooperation missions. In addition to the deployment of Hornet jets, Halonen expressed reservations about the potential use of EU battle groups in Libya.

“That has been discussed as well, but they are intended for the kind of tasks which are clearly limited in time.”

She added that there are currently no appropriate political conditions for ground operations by EU battle groups.

“We’ve got a situation where the biggest countries participating in the Libyan operation say that they are not even considering group troops, which would make this a rather incompatible idea.”

According to Halonen, the international community has jumped into action in Libya quite fast. The president stressed that taking care of the effects of the crisis take a long time.

“Such things tend to last longer than we now believe. Any use of force casts long shadows.”

Halonen declined to speculate on Finland’s potential future participation in dealing with the Libyan crisis.

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