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Finnish Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö visits Washington D.C. to meet the United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Sweden’s Minister for Defense Peter Hultqvist on May 8, 2018. Picture: Kathryn E. Holm

Defense ministries of Finland, Sweden and the US, are deepening their defense cooperation.

These bilateral defense relationships are promoting security in the Baltic Sea region by strengthening stability in northern Europe and building interoperability between the US and “two of its most capable and likeminded partners,” says the Statement of Intent (SOI) signed by the Finnish defense minister, Jussi Niinistö, and his Swedish and US counterparts, Peter Hultqvist and James Mattis.

Swedish Defense Minister, Peter Hultqvist, the US Defense Minister James N. Mattis and Finnish Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö sign the Statement of Intent at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on May 8, 2018. Picture: Kathryn E. Holm

The statement was signed on May 8, during Defense Minister Niinistö’s visit to Washington.

According to the statement, “Our countries have a shared interest in cooperating to support a stable and secure environment in the Baltic Sea region, in safeguarding the fundamental principles of international law, and in preserving the European security order.”

Means include:

  • Regular meetings at all levels
  • Exchanges of information at all levels
  • Increasing practical cooperation between the respective armed forces
  • Coordinated participation in training and exercises
  • Shaping exercise design to reflect trilateral cooperation priorities
  • Development of cooperation in multinational operations
  • Coordination of strategic communication concerning incidents and activities
  • The enhancement of the EU-NATO strategic partnership

The SOI brings together previously agreed thematic entities. Through cooperation it is possible, for instance, to make sure that overlapping activities or competitive situations are avoided in international exercises and training.