Presidents of Finland and US meet at the White House – Our Relationship With Finland Is a Very Close, Says Trump

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The US President Donald Trump spoke with his head tucked in his chest.

“I would also like to share a message to the people of Finland who have recently suffered a terrorist attack in Turku,” he said while casting a glance at the media,”We stand in solidarity with you against the terrorist threat. We must all work together to deny terrorists safe havens, cut off their finances, and defeat their very wicked ideology.”

Trump spoke at a press conference after inviting his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinistö, to meet him late on Monday afternoon in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington D.C., around midnight in Finnish time. “Americans are grateful for your steadfast support as an ally in the fight against terrorism — appreciate it — including your membership in the coalition to defeat ISIS,” he said. “Finland makes important contributions to the coalition and its effort in Afghanistan, and has troops on the ground in Iraq training Iraqi soldiers.”

President Niinistö had arrived in Washington on Sunday evening, and the meeting between the presidents had been rescheduled a day earlier due to Hurricane Harvey, which has flooded the city of Houston partly under the water, and President Trump is heading to the area on Tuesday.

Trump continued praising Finland’s role in Afghanistan. “In Afghanistan, Finland provides troops and financial contributions to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces on a modern-day frontier between barbarism and civilization.  That’s what you have — it’s barbarism versus civilization.  We are particularly grateful to the Finnish citizens who have sacrificed for our mutual security.”

Trump expressed his admiration to Finland as “a leading expert in cybersecurity.” “In fact, we should be calling you pretty soon.  You do a fantastic job with cybersecurity, and I congratulate you.  And I think in a very short period of time, we’re going to be right there with you, believe me.  The United States is a very proud partner of Finland’s European Center of Excellence to counter modern threats, including cyberattacks,” Trump said.

In honor of Finland’s 100th anniversary of its independence, Trump said that “the United States is contributing an additional half-million dollars to the Fullbright Finland Foundation. Through the Fulbright program, we are sending more of our best and brightest to Finland, forging lasting connections between Americans and Finns.”

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“We have a lot of blonde women in Finland.”

President Niinistö said that “our thoughts are with the people” who have been affected by the hurricane. Niinistö said that “Finland highly appreciates our close relationship with the United States.” “Today, they are broader than ever, ranging from security to defense cooperation, to trade and innovation.” “The U.S. and NATO presence in Europe are — and in Baltic Sea — are most important, and they are increasing rapidly.  Finland is doing its part.  We promote dialogue.  To reduce risks, Finland has proposed steps to improve flight safety in the Baltic Sea area.  They are small, but positive steps in reopening dialogue between NATO and Russia.  We remain committed to supporting Afghanistan, and we are a dedicated member of the global coalition against ISIS,” Niinistö said.

President Niinistö was asked, whether he spoke about climate change with Trump. Finland, after all, chairs the Arctic Council in 2017-2019 after inheriting the chairmanship from the US.

“We discussed a lot about black carbon,” said Niinistö, ”and to explain to everybody: from atmosphere, black carbon covers the Arctic, and we know what happens when sunshine meets black.  It melts the ice.  And the problem is not only Arctic; if we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe.  That is reality.” “So we must fight against those emissions spreading black carbon.  I understood that the United States is going to put it in half, and we know that black carbon sources are a lot of them in Russia.  They are old-fashioned energy plants producing heating.  The other problem is flaring.  In oil fields, they flare up the extra gas, and the amount is huge.  Yearly, they flare 40 times more than Finland spent gas.” “So if we can . . . it would be a good business to renew those old-fashioned plants, to make more with less energy.  It would be the business to stop flaring, to take use of that gas which is now burned,” Niinistö said.

Trump continued: “We had a very good discussion, in particular on the Arctic and black carbon.  And I think we have much in agreement. One of the things we also agree on:  We want crystal-clean water, and we want clean air — the cleanest ever.  Very important.  So we have a lot of agreement.”

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“Black carbon covers the Arctic, and we know what happens when sunshine meets black. It melts the ice.”

After the time for the questions had ended, Trump decided to go off script and give the journalists a few additional questions and gestured Niinistö to choose the reporter.

“Please,” said Niinistö while gesturing to a third Finnish journalist. “Again? You’re gonna give her the same one?”

“No, she’s not the same lady,” Niinistö said.

“Go ahead,” said Trump.

“They are sitting side-by-side,” said Niinistö.

“We have a lot of blonde women in Finland,” the reporter said and asked if Trump thinks that Finland could help the US to get better relations with Russia.

“Finland is respected by Russia.  Finland has been free of Russia, really — just about one of the few countries in the region that has been — for 100 years.  And Russia has a lot of respect for Finland, so that’s always good.  But I think Finland is doing fine with Russia, and I hope that the United States will someday be able to have a very good relationship with Russia also.  I think that’s very good for world peace and for other things.”

Trump was asked what kind of assistance would the US be willing to give to Finland bilaterally if it needed it.

“Our relationship with Finland is a very close. We’re always ready to help Finland,” Trump said. “I think Finland is really a respected country militarily.  It’s got large armed forces for its size as a country.  Really, proportionally, probably one of the biggest in the world if you think of it. But they’re very respected militarily, and they’re respected beyond militarily.  So hopefully it will never come to that.”

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