The Governor-General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and his spouse Lady Lynne Cosgrove, met with President Sauli Niinistö and his spouse Mrs Jenni Haukio 10:00 on Thursday morning during an official reception ceremony at the Presidential Palace.
Under the grey sky and the heavy clouds that seemed to hold rain, the Cosgroves stepped out from the government Mercedes smiling, and the Governer-General greeted President Niinistö like they were old friends but in fact, the state visit to Finland was Cosgrove’s first.
Gosgrove arrived in Finland to discuss the bilateral relationship between Australia and Finland, with particular emphasis on both countries’ business, innovation and defence links.
The Governor-General seemed to know the foreign minister Timo Soini well, as he shouted “I know you!” while Soini was standing at the corner of the red carpet among other guests, including high-ranked military leaders, who the Cosgroves and Niinistö and his spouse greeted one by one.
Australia’s military role is very much defined by its proximity to the Asia-Pacific region, and its close alliance with the US. The defence talks between Australia and Finland will be beneficial for Australia due to Finland’s border with Russia, and beneficial for Finland given Australia’s proximity to the Asia Pacific region.
Later, the Governor-General will also meet Maria Lohela, the Speaker of the Finnish Parliament; Prime Minister Juha Sipilä; and General Jarmo Lindberg, Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces. The programme also includes the laying of a wreath in Hietaniemi Cemetery, a visit to VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, as well as meetings with business representatives.
The previous state visit from Finland to Australia was made by President Tarja Halonen in 2007.