|www.helsinginsanomat.fi/english||print | close window|
President Niinistö meets Makarov, disputes Russian general’s analysis
Niinistö may discuss matter with Putin in two weeks
President Sauli Niinistö says that Russian armed forces commander, General Nikolai Makarov has made an incorrect analysis of Finland’s relations with NATO. The President told General Makarov when the two met at the President’s residence of Mäntyniemi that an incorrect analysis easily leads to the wrong conclusions.
Niinistö said that he is also drawing a lesson from this that he will not make very far-reaching interpretations, as they might lead to incorrect analyses.
“The General has made a speech”, Niinistö said at the opening of their conversation.
President Niinistö said that Makarov could have acquainted himself with the Finnish government report on security and defence policy, the government’s policy programme, or possibly interviews with the President as ways of clarifying Finland’s stand on NATO.
Niinistö said that Makarov answered this and a few other points of view that he put forward by saying that “it is good that things are discussed”.
Niinistö did not want to speculate on Thursday morning on whether or not Makarov’s statement represents Russia’s point of view more broadly. The President does not know what Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks about General Makarov’s views.
“I spoke with the general and I only know his views.”
Niinistö also said that it is not possible on the basis of meeting Makarov on Thursday to draw the conclusion that Russia’s policy would have changed in any way.
Niinistö plans to discuss the matter with President Putin at a meeting scheduled for two weeks from now, if there appears to be a need to do so.
“However, I think that this will probably end here.”
Niinistö also said that there is a strong positive attitude in Finland toward national defence, but that it could still be improved.