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Sep 4 2023

SHAPE Engages with Finland, NATO's newest Ally

MONS, Belgium - A delegation of Finnish Policy Makers visited Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) on 30 Aug and engaged with SHAPE leaders on a variety of topics including NATO operations, the ‘Deter and Defend’ concept, and cyber / hybrid threats. Finland Contributes to Deterrence and Defence.

“I am very pleased to welcome this delegation of leaders from the newest member of the Alliance,” said Admiral Joachim Rühle, SHAPE Chief of Staff.

NATO and Finland worked closely as partners for many years, and today we stand together as Allies. Your accession has made our Alliance stronger, and your citizens safer

High-level visits between SHAPE and national delegations offer an excellent platform to exchange views and enhance understanding on ongoing topics of mutual interest, including collective defence and current security considerations. This is particularly the case with Finland, who joined the Alliance on 4 April 2023, after almost 30 years of close partnership with NATO. Finland’s partnership with NATO was historically based on its policy of military non-alignment, which changed following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. For many years prior to its accession, Finland had been one of NATO's most active partners and a valued contributor to NATO-led operations and missions in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Finnish Support for NATO-led operations and missions

Finland first participated in a NATO-led operation in 1996 when it contributed a battalion to the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. From 2002, Finnish soldiers worked alongside Allied forces in Afghanistan – first as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which completed its mission at the end of 2014, and later as part of the follow-on Resolute Support Mission (RSM) to further train, assist and advise the Afghan security forces and institutions until its completion in September 2021. Finland also contributed over USD 14 million to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund. Finland provides personnel to the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo (KFOR). Finland has also participated in NATO Mission Iraq (NMI), NATO's advisory and capacity-building mission in Iraq.




Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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