The US and Finland are negotiating a bilateral defense cooperation agreement. It is intended to enable American forces to take action on Finnish territory, including the deployment of military equipment, in any crisis situation. “This is a complement to our membership in NATO,” the Finnish Foreign Ministry said.
The spring round of Finnish-American DCA (Defence Cooperation Agreement) talks took place in late April in Helsinki.
Formally, the agreement defines the conditions for the presence of US troops on the territory of an allied country. These are formal issues such as taxes and duties, or recognition of qualifications, the ministry said.
“This agreement maximizes our security”
“The most important thing is that the agreement will enable smooth cooperation with the US in any security threat situation, including a possible quick reaction” – revealed the Finnish negotiator, Mikael Antell, deputy head of the political department in the ministry.
A high-ranking official clarified that the agreement is to define the rules for the stay of American troops, as well as the rules for storing equipment or making investments in infrastructure.
– This agreement maximizes our security, and the US plays a significant role in this – also said Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in an interview with Yle TV, emphasizing the importance of the Scandinavian area for the US.
Negotiations on the DCA formally started at the bureaucratic level in autumn 2022. The talks involve not only diplomats, but also representatives of the Ministry of Defense and high-ranking military officers of both countries.
In March last year, after the start Russia’s attack on Ukrainethe deepening of cooperation was declared in Washington by the presidents of Niinisto and Joe Biden. Earlier in 2016, a letter of intent on this matter was also signed by the defense ministers of both countries.
Finland officially joined NATO on April 4 as the 31st country. According to the estimates of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, negotiations on a bilateral agreement with the US may take up to another year. The draft agreement will then go to the Finnish Parliament.
Main photo source: maavoimat.fi