Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja apologizes for Estonia criticism

Erkki Tuomioja (AFP/Scanpix)
1/16/2015 6:01 PM
Category: Politics

Tuomioja told ERR radio that his words about Estonia failing to offer news in Russian were misinterpreted and he is aware that there are Russian-language media outlets in Estonia.

A diplomatic row arose in light of the Tuomioja's reaction to the news that Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark and the United Kingdom are drawing up a joint letter asking the European Union's foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, to begin fighting against Russia's information propaganda. It was hoped that Finland would also join the initiative.

But Tuomioja told Finnish Swedish-language newspaper Hufvudstadbladet that he did not wish to see EU money spent on a propaganda.

”How the Baltics have acted, it sounds like a nationalism, failing to offer news in Russian,” he said, failing to mention the fact that Estonian media outlets ERR, Delfi, Postimees all offer online news in Russian, while ETV also runs Russian-language news programs.

But Tuomioja said to ERR today that his words have been misinterpreted.

“I apologize for the fact that the my words have received a negative attention, due to the misinterpretation. I am perfectly aware of the fact that there is a Russian-language radio- and TV-program in Estonia,” he said in a telephone conversation.

Tuomioja's words prompted Estonian foreign minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus to summon Finnish Ambassador Kirsti Narinen to Foreign Ministry on Thursday, to discuss the comments and Estonian-Finnish relations.

Tuomioja also hosted Estonian Ambassador to Finland, Margus Laidre, in Helsinki. Laidre informed Toumioja about the Estonia's policies in regards to Russian-language media, and about the plan to set up a new TV-channel for Russian-speaking minority.

"I met with the Estonian ambassador and it was constructive and friendly meeting. We spoke about my interview for Hufvudstadbladet and as far as I'm concerned, there isn't anything that could imply problems between our two countries. Our aims and interests in this matter are the same," Tuomioja said.

S. Tambur

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