Foreign ministers Soini and Ligi: No trouble between Finland and Estonia because of U.S—Finnish defense cooperation
Foreign Minister Jürgen Ligi (Reform) said in Helsinki on Friday that Estonia had no intention to object to closer defense cooperation between Finland and the United States. Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat claimed in early September that this was the case.
“We have no problem regarding that cooperation,” Ligi said, adding that he didn’t understand where the according reports came from.
Ligi emphasized that the relations between Estonia and Finland were very good, and that they had a shared understanding of the region’s security. “We are glad that Finland is making a contribution to security in the Baltic Sea region and is a close partner of NATO,” Ligi was quoted in a ministry press release on Friday.
Ligi also said that he didn’t see a reason to get excited about statements made my U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump regarding NATO. Trump has said that as president, he would make the response of the U.S. in the case of a Russian attack depend on how the affected countries have met their obligations to NATO.
Ligi said that as a politician, he understood that the political debate may be more radical than things are in real life. He pointed out that a similar message had been relayed to NATO allies also earlier.
“Everyone in Europe should spend more money and take greater responsibility for their defense,” he said.
The foreign ministers of Estonia and Finland discussed the security situation in the Baltic Sea area as well as current problems of the European Union. Both Ligi and Foreign Minister Timo Soini made it a point to stress the good relations between the two countries. “Not all negotiations go as smoothly as negotiations between Estonia and Finland,” Soini said.
Ligi met with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö to discuss the region’s security, cooperation between the EU and NATO, and relations with Russia. Ligi also met with the speaker of the Eduskunta, Maria Lohela.
Ligi took over as foreign minister of Estonia in mid-September after then Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand (independent) decided to run for president.