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Vanhanen: Russia Treaty Puts no Limits on Finnish Options

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen says that the state treaty signed between Finland and Russia in 1992 does not limit Finland's options with respect to NATO. Vanhanen told YLE that the treaty does not differ from the ones that Russia has with other European countries, and with NATO itself.

Two political scientists recently said that Russia would be able to invoke certain pats of the treaty to prevent Finland from joining NATO if it wanted to. Vanhanen said that the clauses involve standard wording that is normally used in the United Nations.

Vanhanen notes that the same debate that is now going on over the treaty, already took place in 1992.

The Prime Minister sees the treaty itself as a good one for developing bilateral relations between Finland and Russia. The treaty remains in force for five years ag a time, and it will be extended for another five years on July the tenth. Vanhanen noted that there was a chance to get out of the treaty last year, but he sees no reason to do so.

Vanhanen noted that security policy matters are political and not legal matters. He also sees the recent media debate on the matter was pointless.

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