President Sauli Niinistö and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, at the White House in Washington D.C. on October 3, 2019. Picture: Matti Porre/TPK

President Sauli Niinistö and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy (TP-UTVA) discussed the tense situation in Iraq, Iran and the Middle East on Tuesday.

The president and the committee stated that all parties should avoid violence and actions that could lead to further escalation of the situation. The international community, especially the EU, must act to ease the situation.

TP-UTVA discussed the effects of the escalating situation on Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), an operation of the international coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, in which Finland participates.

In addition, Finland participates in the civilian crisis management operation EU Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq) and has one person working on the NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) operation.

On January 3, President Niinistö commented on the tensions between the United States and Iran.

We publish his statement in full:

“After the events in Baghdad the relationship between the United States and Iran is in a critical state. There is a danger of a cycle that is difficult to break. Its impacts threaten to extend also beyond the region.

The international community must use all means to create a dialogue contact.

I have reached out to the Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven as well as to other key Finnish ministers. Both Finland and Sweden have OIR troops in Iraq, and our embassies in Iraq work at joint premises.”