President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö met Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson and Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre on Wednesday 22 February 2023 at the Swedish Prime Minister’s summer residence Harpsund.
The meeting focused on current security issues, cooperation between Finland, Sweden and Norway, and the countries’ strong support to Ukraine.
At a joint press conference after the meeting, President Niinistö said that the discussions at Harpsund had been very good and open. Just by looking at the map, he said, you can understand why the Nordic countries have a reason to cooperate on security. “This trilateral meeting is one form of our cooperation.”
The President told the media that contacts with Sweden and Norway have been close ever since the beginning of the war. “We immediately discussed how to help Ukraine. We used to have a principle of not sending weapons to crisis areas. However, it was not difficult to make a new decision.”
To questions from the media on Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership process, President Niinistö said: “We move forward hand in hand, with everything that is in our own hands. But the ratification of our NATO membership is in Türkiye´s hands.”
According to the President, if Türkiye ratifies Finland’s NATO membership and the Parliament approves the NATO law “we will become a member”. The President said that Finland would do its utmost to ensure that both Finland and Sweden are accepted as members as soon as possible.
The meeting was followed by a joint statement in which the leaders of Finland, Sweden and Norway, on the eve of the one-year mark of the war, reaffirmed their unwavering support for Ukraine and strongly condemned Russia’s unprovoked and illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine:
“The deteriorating security situation in our neighbourhood and Russia’s full-scale war of aggression were the factors that prompted Sweden and Finland to decide to apply for NATO membership. Security in northern Europe and the entire Alliance will increase significantly with Sweden and Finland as NATO members.”
The declaration also states that the countries’ armed forces will cooperate closely on land, at sea and in the air and that they will continue to deepen their cooperation in large-scale exercises.
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto and Defence Minister Mikko Savola, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström and Defence Minister Pål Jonson, as well as Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt and Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram also attended the event.
The meeting was a continuation of the intensified contacts between Finland, Sweden and Norway that President Niinistö started in 2019 at Kultaranta.