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President Niinistö calls for study of UK’s joint expeditionary force offer

President Sauli Niinistö has called for a thorough review of the impact of possible military cooperation with the UK before making a decision to proceed further. On Sunday Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö said that Finland and Sweden were likely to join the UK’s Joint Expeditionary Force.

Presidentti Sauli Niinistö ja rouva Jenni Haukio juhlistavat Inarissa saamelaisten kansallispäivää ja tervehtivät saamelaisalueen koulutuskeskuksen oppilaita Saamelaiskulttuurikeskus Sajoksen pihalla Inarissa.
President Sauli Niinistö and his wife Jenni Haukio visited Inari in Lapland on Monday to commemorate National Sámi Day. Image: Otto Ponto / Lehtikuva

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö has called for the government to look into the UK’s offer to join its seven-member Joint Expeditionary Force before making a decision on membership.

"I wouldn’t go announcing any decisions, when none has been made," Niinistö said when Yle caught up with him at National Sámi Day celebrations in Inari, Lapland on Monday.

The President's comments follow statements by Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö who told STT news agency Sunday that it seemed that Finland would take up the UK offer.

The Joint Expeditionary Force is a UK-led multinational force whose aim is to develop its rapid reaction military performance. Other current members are Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway.

President Niinistö said that he agreed with the thinking put forward by Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist.

"He did say that they are currently reviewing the content of Britain's suggestion. Then there will be discussions between Finland and Sweden. Only then will a decision be made about whether we are in or not," the President said.

He added that Finland would certainly participate if the cooperation is seen to be beneficial.

"It would be good to now look at it very thoroughly," Niinistö continued.

He concluded that Finland should be open to cooperation in all directions.

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