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Finland is a good example for Lithuania in national defence sector, Lithuanian Defence Minister says


August 25-26, Minister Rasa Juknevičienė conducted a work visit in Finland where she met with Finland's Defence Minister of Finland Jyri Häkämies, Chief of Defence Lt Gen Ari Puheloinen and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Kari Rimpi.


In a bilateral meeting Ministers agreed to strengthen Baltic-Nordic cooperation in ensuring regional security and searching for more efficient ways of exploiting limited resources. Specific areas of practical cooperation were planned to be determined before the upcoming Baltic-Nordic Defence Ministers' meeting to be held in November. Joint efforts in countering challenges to cyber defence were named as one of optional priorities. In the future Lithuania would also consider the possibility of joining the Nordic Battlegroup (NBG); Estonia already takes part in the formation and Latvia has also expressed will to take part in it. Defence Minister of Finland stressed the energy security centre to be opened in Lithuania in 2011 as one more critical sector of cooperation.


During the visit Lithuanian delegation toured Finland's Joint Maritime Surveillance Centre where integrated maritime surveillance system based on close interinstitutional cooperation.


„I will propose to the Government of Lithuania to apply Finland's example of integrating units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, interior affairs, and state border guard into national maritime surveillance system. It would be a way to ensure efficiency of its operation and employment of the state's financial resources, just like in Finland", Minister of National Defence R. Juknevičienė highlighted the advantage to refer to Finland's experience in maritime surveillance.


The Minister was briefed on Finland's concept of the comprehensive approach to defence encompassing close cooperation between the country's defence and private sectors and highly efficient efforts of involving the entire society by purposeful resort of all voluntary initiatives.


„Finland's example once again stresses that national defence is inseparable from society's involvement, determination of the country's citizens, and their readiness to defend their state. Duty of the Lithuanian Armed Forces is to serve for people of Lithuania in peacetime by helping to respond to natural disasters or other causes of nature, along to participation in military international operations," said R. Juknevičienė.


Representatives of the Finnish Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces shared their experience of strategic planning to national security, presented systems of training basic compulsory military service troops and volunteers. Political leaders of both countries' defence agreed to exchange experience in the mentioned sectors. According to the Lithuanian Minister, Finland's military and political leaderships' decision to assign for a workgroup of representatives of Finland's society to conduct an exhaustive investigation of the matter, was an enviable solution of the issue of compulsory military service. Preliminary results of the study were favorable for the compulsory military service. It is a way in which defence issues remain significant and relevant for society.


Lithuanian and Finnish Defence Ministers also addressed international issues, and the necessity to use every level to seek more efficient employment of resources. The Ministers unanimously agreed that both in case of NATO and the EU, a well as in development of regional capabilities in security and defence sectors, it was crucial to build on cooperation rather than on doubling structures or competition.


Picture by Alfredas Pliadis

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