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Finland to join NATO defence ministers' meeting in Brussels

Finland will participate in a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels on Thursday. Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö will be the Finnish representative at the talks, which are expected to focus on crisis management operations in Afghanistan.

Jussi Niinistö
Puolustusministeri Jussi Niinistö Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

Finland will be represented by Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö in Thursday's meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels.

The talks are expected to focus on crisis management operations in Afghanistan, where Finland has deployed a team of 30 people mostly involved in training activities.

During the meeting, NATO member states and other partners will focus on updating information about the operation, which has been ongoing since 2015. Lately, Afghanistan has suffered several bloody attacks, including a recent strike on a television station in the capital Kabul.

The United States has said that it would like to increase the number of troops in the country by 3,000 soldiers. Finland's current mandate would allow it to boost its complement of crisis management operatives to 40.

Following Thursday's meeting, Niinistö is expected to participate in a session lead by the US Defence Secretary and involving a coalition against the extremist group Isis.

On Tuesday Niinistö said that he had invited the United States to Finnish military exercises due to take place in 2020 or 2021. He presented the offer during a separate tripartite defence meeting involving Finland, Sweden and the US in Helsinki on Tuesday.

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