President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö met representatives of the Finnish Association of Political Journalists on Thursday, 21 January 2021. In the remote meeting, the situation in the United States, coronavirus and other current issues were discussed.
In his opening remarks, President Niinistö highlighted President Biden’s inaugural address and cooperation with his new administration. According to President Niinistö, it is clear that most of the Biden administration’s attention is currently focused on the internal situation in the United States and the national unity.
At the same time, however, the first signs are also evident of a strengthening of the United States’ international position and closer cooperation. On the day of his inauguration, President Biden, among other actions, reinstated the United States in the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organisation.
President Niinistö anticipates that the United States will in future be more prominent in international arenas and will seek out its traditional role of influence. “Of course, it says much that President Biden does not want to show an example of power but the power of example. It is a phrase that describes really well the attitude that the United States now wishes to take in a certain way as an advocate for the liberal democratic world,” he said.
Asked how cooperation between the United States and Russia will progress in the future, President Niinistö responded by referring to the expiring New Start Treaty as well as the Open Skies Treaty, from which the United States has already withdrawn. “These are not world-shattering issues, but they are quite important specifically in measuring whether the ability and willingness to engage in dialogue exist.”
At the end of his opening remarks, the President reminded the journalists of the seriousness of the coronavirus situation. Among other things, the new virus variants have shown that there is no reason to abandon caution – on the contrary. “The behaviour of every one of us will be highly decisive in this. We have done well, behaved well, and must continue to do so. And in the face of misfortune, we can, ” he said in encouragement.
In media questions, the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny was also among the issues raised. President Niinistö had, a moment earlier, spoken on the phone about the subject with President of Russia Vladimir Putin.