Finland, Sweden, U.S. intent to defense cooperation
09 May 2018, 12:20 ( 11 days ago) | updated: 09 May 2018, 20:33 ( 11 days ago)
The United States on Tuesday signed a trilateral statement of intent with Finland and Sweden to enhance trilateral defense cooperation amid rising rhetoric against Russia.
According to a Pentagon statement, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis met with his Finnish and Swedish counterparts Jussi Niinistö and Peter Hultqvist earlier Tuesday at the Pentagon.
The three nations signed a trilateral statement of intent that will enhance their defense relationship in seven areas, including defense policy dialogue, policy and military-level interoperability, expanded regional situational awareness, strengthened capabilities and posture, combined multinational operations, strategic communications, and U.S.-NATO-EU cooperation.
At a welcoming ceremony at the Pentagon, Mattis said the signing of the statement of intent, which was not legally binding though, would take trilateral military cooperation to the next level.
He said that Finland and Sweden share with the United States a strong defense relationship, which is increasingly important "in a region grown more tense".
Slamming Russia's alleged "destabilizing" behavior, Mattis urged the two European nations "to bolster our partnership in the Arctic."