Saturday, 13th August 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

Biden to host Finland’s president at White House

President Joe Biden will host Finland's president, Sauli Niinisto, at the White House on Friday to discuss defense issues against a backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, officials said Thursday.

US President Joe Biden makes a statement from the East Room of the White House about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine .” (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

President Joe Biden will host Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto, at the White House on Friday to discuss defense issues against a backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, officials said Thursday.

They will “continue their conversations about enforcing our strong bilateral relations,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

They are set to “discuss the US-Finnish defense relationship, which is very strong and in fact complements Finland’s close partnership with NATO,” she said.

Finland is not a member of NATO, but has close ties to the Western alliance, and the Russian war against Ukraine has reignited debate about whether the relationship should be deepened.

On Thursday, Niinisto called for “a cool head.”

“In the midst of an acute crisis it is particularly important to keep a cool head and carefully assess the impact on our security,” Niinisto said.

Petitions in favor of a Finnish referendum on NATO membership have amassed tens of thousands of signatures in the last week, meaning the issue will be debated by lawmakers in parliament.

Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) border with Russia, remained neutral during the Cold War in exchange for assurances from Moscow that Soviet troops would not invade.

The Nordic country of 5.5 million people has since joined the European Union and enjoys a close partnership with NATO, sharing intelligence and resources.