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According to President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö, an open line of communication is required between the parties to the Ukrainian crisis, and the door to such communication is now at least ajar. On Saturday 16 August, President Niinistö returned from a two-day working visit during which he first met President of Russia Vladimir Putin in Sochi, followed by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in Kiev.
”These meetings cemented my opinion that an open line of communication is needed. Not everything can be said on the telephone. The absolute necessity of opening such a channel and relaying messages between the parties also received further confirmation,” said President Niinistö.
President Niinistö referred to the intricate negotiations surrounding the Russian relief convoy’s passage into Ukraine, and to the talks between the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine scheduled for Sunday. ”These are only modest first steps, but the door is nevertheless now open – or at any rate ajar – which is a good thing,” said the President.
Truce the primary objective
President Niinistö stated that achieving a truce between the parties is the primary objective on the way to resolving the crisis. A key element of such a truce would be preventing the passage of armed forces from Russia to Ukraine. ”An internal, national dialogue is still needed within Ukraine.”
President Niinistö also reminded the media of the large, still unresolved questions looming in the background of the fighting. ”These questions include the reconciliation, or at least the relationship, of the Eurasian Customs Union with Ukraine’s Association Agreement,” said the President.
According to President Niinistö, explicit action on the part of the EU is expected with regard to the Ukrainian crisis. ”In spite of criticism, the EU has been capable of making common decisions, for example on the economic sanctions. This is appreciated in Ukraine,” the President continued.
President Niinistö spoke with several heads of state before his visit to Russia and Ukraine. He also indicated that he would continue telephone communications with partners both within and outside the EU after the visit.
”I am not looking for a role to play. But Finland and I are fully committed to working towards peace and a resolution to the crisis if our help is required,” the President said. ”In fact, I have received direct requests to continue communications with the various parties to the crisis.”
The President also remarked that he had taken note of the discussion in Finland on the risks related to his trip. ”I naturally agree, but my position is that the continuation of fighting is, in any event, the greatest risk.”
- 8/15/2014 President Niinistö after meeting with Putin: Ceasefire requires trust and action also on the part of Russia
- 8/16/2014 President Niinistö met with President of Ukraine