Finland and Sweden, the only remaining non-NATO members in Scandinavia, have signed an agreement on closer and deeper military cooperation in Washington. The agreement includes, among other things, an emphasis on joint drills and submarine hunting, the daily newspaper Aftonbladet reported.
The agreement marks a departure from bilateral US-Swedish and US-Finnish arrangements in favor or a tripartite cooperation.
“What we want to achieve is long-term stability in our part of Europe,” Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said, after meeting his colleagues Jussi Niinistö and James Mattis. Hultqvist also stressed that both Finland and Sweden have been deepening their defense cooperation with the US in all branches of arms, which is why establishing more in-depth collaboration was “only natural.”
Hultqvist pointed out that “increasingly poor security” provided a backdrop for increased cooperation.
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“We have not singled out any particular country in this way. We only note that over time, the security policy situation in our part of Europe has deteriorated,” Hultqvist said. At the same time, both Hultqvist and Niinistö were at pains to stress that the agreement shouldn’t be seen as a provocation…