Koivisto: Good relations with Russia important

Ex-president Mauno Koivisto continues his keen interest on Finnish foreign policy. Having been actively criticising NATO policy and actions in the Balkans, he now returns to one of his favourite subjects, Finland's relations with Russia. Koivisto emphasises the importance of maintaining good relations with the country's eastern neighbour.

In his new book on Russia — summarised by the Finnish news agency STT, and YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company) television news (10 April 2001) — Koivisto warns against Finland seeking security from sources other than cultivating good relations with Russia. Koivisto thinks that seeking security from elsewhere might turn out to be insufficient in case of new tensions.

The ex-President is also concerned about the EU evolving into some sort of nation state. Koivisto thinks that currently Finland is rushing into embracing a federalist development in the Union. He is also worried about the fact that the Finnish government is concentrating too much on EU enlargement instead of taking care of the country's relations with Russia. Koivisto emphasises that no other relations can compensate for good neighbourly relations.

In his book, Koivisto goes through Russian history from early times to the present. He writes that Russia has overall been a good neighbour. Many countries have had worse neighbours, is his conclusion.

See also:

Koivisto expresses concern on peacekeeping law

18 May 2000

Ex-president criticises West's policies in Yugoslavia

31 August 1999

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