The Finnish Foreign Minister took three steps forward from the meeting between the Presidents of Russia and the United States.
The United States president Joe Biden concluded his visit to Europe with the expected meeting of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin with. After the meeting, both presidents assured that the negotiations had been conducted in a good and constructive spirit.
However, they did not talk about success side by side, but in two consecutive, personal briefings.
“Separate press conferences tell of tensions. Likewise, the fact that neither invited each other to the village, ”the Foreign Minister said Pekka Haavisto (green) tells Helsingin Sanomat.
Despite the tensions, Haavisto also saw a lot of good things at the meeting.
“The very fact that leaders are able to meet is a good sign. Both also emphasized that the atmosphere of the discussion was matter-of-fact and that the discussions went straight to the point. ”
From the issue of the negotiations, Haavisto picked up a list of three successes. The first step forward is for the US and Russian ambassadors to return to their posts. The second and third, in turn, are that countries will continue to work together in the Strategic Stability Group and in a separate cyber affairs working group.
In this way, countries will continue to work together to prevent armed and cyber threats. “Today, we reaffirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and should never be waged,” the presidents wrote in their joint statement.
Putin according to Haavisto, the press conference also saw some “weak defenses”. When the Russian president was asked about imprisoned opposition politicians Alexei Navalnayista, this turned the debate into the conquest of the U.S. Congress and the events that followed.
“But it’s important that the presidents seem to have talked about difficult things as well.”
In addition to Navalny, Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan, for example, were on the list of difficult issues.
“Afghanistan is definitely a concern for Russia,” Haavisto says.
Climate change received less attention at press conferences, but Haavisto is confident that it will be reflected in Biden’s policy in the future. On Wednesday, instead of climate threats, the focus was on cyber threats, which were widely discussed at both briefings.
At the meeting, Biden also gave Putin a 16-point list of important infrastructure sites that should be excluded from cyber attacks in the future.
“Cyber attacks seemed to be at the center, indicating that threats are modernizing. The new tools of warfare are effective against civilians. ”
Haaviston According to Finland and Europe, it was good that Biden only met Putin at the end of his visit to Europe. In this way, he had time to discuss with the leaders of the European Union and its member states the themes that are important to them.
“EU-US relations have improved rapidly during the Biden era. “At Wednesday’s meeting, Biden was able to speak with transatlantic force.”
To the international community, the strong statement of the Presidents of the United States and Russia against a nuclear war is always welcome. According to Haavisto, it is also important for Finland that both Putin and Biden raised issues in the Arctic. For example, the melting of permafrost worries both Finland and both great powers.
Russia is currently chairing the Arctic Council. The Council consists of eight countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Russia, the United States and Canada.
“It would be important for Finland that the Arctic region be excluded from the rivalry of the great powers.”