Group portrait of the heads of state at the NATO summit. Photo: NATO
President Sauli Niinistö attended the NATO summit in Wales on 4 September 2014. The summit began with a meeting of the countries involved in the ISAF operation in Afghanistan. According to President Niinistö, the attendees were committed to a continuing presence in Afghanistan: “There was broad agreement that Resolute Support will continue that operation. Finland has already decided to be involved in support functions in the aftercare phase.” The ISAF operation is scheduled to conclude at the end of 2014. The new NATO operation, Resolute Support, is intended to pick up where ISAF will leave off, providing training, support and advice to the national security forces.
The goals of NATO’s new cooperation initiative include supporting the potential of partnership countries for participating in eventual crisis management operations beyond the end of the ISAF operation. President Niinistö commented on the strengthening of partnership at his press conference. “Our security is based on a strong, independent defence and on networking and partnerships over as broad a range as possible. One of these dimensions will be enhanced through our evolving NATO partnership.”
At the summit, Finland also signed a memorandum of understanding on Host Nation Support. President Niinistö pointed out that Host Nation Support is already being widely applied: “There is an exercise going on even as we speak, Northern Coasts, and we signed a Host Nation Support agreement for that ages ago. A Host Nation Support agreement is always needed when forces from another country enter our territory for exercises. This memorandum of understanding lays down the practical details of what the host nation will in fact be supporting. Then perhaps we will not need to draw up agreements as detailed and as extensive in the future, since we already have the foundation in place.”
President Niinistö also met NATO Secretary General designate Jens Stoltenberg at the summit. Stoltenberg, a former Prime Minister of Norway, will be taking up his post at the beginning of October. The NATO summit concludes on Friday 5 September 2014.
Group portrait of NATO partner countries. Photo: NATO.
Secretary General of Nato Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron welcomed President Niinistö to the NATO summit. Photo: NATO livestream
President Niinistö talking with German Chancellor Angela Merkel before the Afghanistan meeting. Picture: NATO livestream.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (left) and Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK welcomed President Sauli Niinistö to the NATO summit.