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HomeFinlandFinland Not Intervening in Russian Consulate on Åland

Finland Not Intervening in Russian Consulate on Åland

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Finland will not take action regarding the Russian consulate office in Mariehamn, Åland, according to Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy (TP-UTVA).

Niinistö and the committee discussed the contents of a report that examined the issues of Åland’s special status and Russia’s consular office in Mariehamn, according to a press release issued by the president’s office.

A number of people in Finland have called for the closure of the Russian consulate, including ones who signed a citizens’ initiative about the matter. The initiative recently garnered just over the required 50,000 supporters and was sent to parliament earlier this month.

The committee said that, based on the report, no action will be taken regarding the Russian consulate, as the situation currently stands. It said that authorities will monitor the consular office’s activities within the framework of its powers.

Åland has been a demilitarised region — meaning there can be no military force on the island — since the 1850s, following the signing of the Paris Peace Treaty which brought an end to the Crimean War.

Last month Yle reported that the Finnish foreign ministry was considering making changes to Åland’s demilitarised status as well as examining the possibility of shutting down the Russian consulate in Mariehamn, but leaning against making either move.

Earlier this month, Niinistö visited Åland and spoke about the debate over the autonomous province’s demilitarised status.

Middle East and Balticconnector

The president and TP-UTVA also discussed the situation in the Middle East. The committee said it considers it necessary that all parties in the conflict guarantee the possibility for civilians to leave the combat zones and for humanitarian aid to reach Gaza.

The committee said that the international community must be resolute in building a lasting peace based on the negotiated two-state model.

The TP-UTVA began a discussion about the results of preliminary negotiations on the Defence Cooperation Agreement between Finland and the US, according to the release.

The committee was also presented with an overview of the ongoing investigation of the Balticconnector gas pipeline, which was damaged last month under unclear circumstances.

Source: Yle

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