US, Finland and Sweden sign trilateral statement of intent on defence

  • Mihai Turcanu
  • 13.5.2018 11:37

On 8 May, Secretary of Defence James Mattis welcomed in Washington the Finnish Defence Minister Jussi Niinisto and Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist, on which occasion the representatives signed a trilateral letter of intent concerning the defence cooperation among their three countries.

The document is not a legally-binding mutual defence agreement, nor does it regulate specific terms, details or areas of cooperation. It aims, instead, to build on bilateral statements of intent the US has previously signed with  Finland and Sweden in 2016, and broadly defines seven areas for the future advancement of trilateral cooperation: defense policy dialogue, policy and military-level interoperability, expanded situational awareness in the Baltic Sea, strengthened capabilities and posture, combined multinational operations, strategic communications coordination, and promoting NATO-EU cooperation. Sweden and Finland are non-aligned countries who, sharing a common history and approach on international relations, coordinate their defence and foreign policy to reinforce each other's stance and promote their closely-aligned interests. Helsinki and Stockholm decided to forge closer ties with Western nations and defence organisation in response to Russia's revisionism, a conclusion clearly transpiring from official statements on this occasion. The reached agreement will serve as the politico-diplomatic basis for furthering defence cooperation between the three signatories

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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