Finland has reputation of neutral country: Ambassador ahead of Trump-Putin Summit


Finland has reputation of neutral country: Ambassador ahead of Trump-Putin SummitNEW DELHI: Finland has a reputation of being a neutral country since the days of the Cold War and enjoy cordial relations with both USA and Russia & erstwhile Soviet Union and this makes it an ideal venue for the US-Russia Summit, explained Finnish Ambassador to India Nina Vaskunlahti ahead of Putin-Trump meet in Helsinki on July 16.

“We have been a neutral country for decades. We have pragmatic foreign policy approach. Finnish-Russian peace agreement is a successful pact and simultaneously Helsinki has positive partnership with the USA. It is this neutral approach of Finland that has made it a venue of Washington-Moscow summits for the past four decades,” Vaskunlahti told ET ahead of the Monday’s summit that is expected to have major fallout on geo-politics.

The envoy pointed out that Finland does not play games in in conduct of its diplomacy and can even provide venue for summit between other countries. “We are always happy to offer venue for political summits as Finland is a reliable country. Our President has good working ties with the US as well as Russian Presidents,” noted the senior diplomat who had earlier handled her country’s ties with Moscow.

The host President will hold separate bilateral summits with Putin and Trump. “President Putin and our President are in regular touch and since the days of Deputy mayor of St Petersburg, the Russian leader enjoys good ties with Finland,” Vaskunlahti recalled.

Helsinki has a history of hosting summits between US and Russian leaders that stretches from the Cold War and has a long tradition of acting as a bridge between the super-powers. Helsinki in the past has been venue for key US-Russia summits during the Cold War –Lenoid Brezhnev-Gerald Ford; George Bush-Mikhail Gorvachev; Bill Clinton-Boris Yeltsin.

Finland is not a member of NATO and during the stand-off between the East and the West during the Cold War, it became neutral ground where Soviet and US presidents could meet. Since the Cold War ended, Helsinki has retained its role as a mediator internationally, recently playing host to discussions around North Korea, as well as between high-level contacts between Russian and US military officials.