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UAE-Finland military cooperation ''extremely good'': Finnish Defence Minister

posted on 22/02/2011: 1727 views



Jyki Hakamies, Defence Minister of Finland, has lauded cooperation between UAE Armed Forces and Finnish Defence Forces as 'extremely good'.

'The cooperation has enhanced since 2007 and respective Armed Forces have identified together different areas of possible cooperation e.g. lessons learned from the international crises response operation and training of military personnel. I am sure that the fruitful cooperation will continue according the mutual interests already identified,' he told Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the occasion of IDEX.

Speaking about his country's participation at IDEX, the minister said :' There are several Finnish defence industry companies participating IDEX 2011. I find it important that the Finnish defence and security industry are participating IDEX 2011 event. Most important is the possibilities for networking with the international defence players such as the Arab Gulf area defence administrations and enterprise.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q1. Are you satisfied with the defence co-operation relations between the UAE and Finland, and is there any plan to develop this co-operation in the future?

A1. The cooperation between UAE Armed Forces and Finnish Defence Forces has started already in 1995 when the first IDEX was held. Since then the relationship has been extremely good. The high level representatives from both countries have visited to each country and armed forces several times. The cooperation has enhanced since 2007 and respective Armed Forces have identified together different areas of possible cooperation e.g. lessons learned from the international crises response operation and training of military personnel. I am sure that the fruitful cooperation will continue according the mutual interests already identified.

Q2. What is the size of Finland's participation in IDEX 2011, in Abu Dhabi, and how does Your Excellency evaluate the importance of it in promoting your country's defence industry.

A2. There are several Finnish defence industry companies participating IDEX 2011. I find it important that the Finnish defence and security industry are participating IDEX 2011 event. Most important is the possibilities for networking with the international defence players such as the Arab Gulf area defence administrations and enterprise.

I want to emphasise that Finland is a high-tech society with an esteemed education system. This also applies to the Finnish defence industry which is well known for high quality and innovation. The companies focus on developing the latest technology and highest quality solutions and invest quite a lot in R'&'D. At the same time there is a need for the products to be cost effective and have the smallest possible logistic and maintenance footprint.

The domestic market in Finland is rather challenging so the Finnish defence and security companies need to go also to international markets. I believe that's where the growth is. We have global players i.e. within logistics, communications, CBRN, turreted mortar systems and armoured vehicles. The security industry is, to my belief, also a growing sector providing systems and services to authorities responsible for national security. I consider that IDEX 2011 is a great opportunity for the Finnish defence and security companies to present their high quality innovation products and skills.

Q3. What are the potentials of defence co-operation between Finland and the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council, ADGCC, states?

A3. I consider that there are good cooperation potential between Finland and the states of Arab Gulf Co-operation Council. From the defence administration point of view the international Crises Management is perhaps one of the key areas that we could share our experiences more together. Some of the Arab countries have already used Finnish Crises Management Training in Finland and as far as I know they have been satisfied for the training. The other area could be co-operation interagency and C4I where Finland as a small country is highly developed country.

Q4. Can Your Excellency elaborate on Finland defence industry?

A4. Defence industry operating in Finland remains a crucial asset for Finnish defence. Besides providing us new capabilities in its core areas of excellence, it has the wider, security of supply-based role also in integration and lifecycle support for defence's tasks. The industry expects to renew and remain to be a competitive source both at the Finnish and the wider market.

As a non-allied country, Finland cannot build its defence planning on military assistance from abroad. We must be capable of independently repel any possible threat. Therefore one can very well ask, is there such a thing as credible national defence without a national defence industry. In Finland we have a very comprehensive approach and the defence industry, as well as other sectors of the Finnish society, engages in national defence. The Finnish defence industry is of vital importance to the Finnish Defence Forces and to the national security with the regard to Security of Supply. It is essential to guarantee domestic integration and maintenance capacities, systems capability know-how and crisis repair expertise.

Industrial benefits and industrial cooperation are part of our international interest. There is a need to find common projects and cooperation possibilities because we simply cannot afford to do everything by ourselves. International interoperability is a key requirement in all defence materiel procurement, also when procuring Finnish materiel. This contributes both to national defence as well as to European crisis management capacity. The Finnish defence industry plays an increasing role in supplying our troops in international operations. We have outsourced a great part of our army and air force maintenance and it is only logical that the industry provides the same kind of services also in our international operations.

The Finnish defence administration has - and has had - a close relationship with the Finnish defence industry for decades. An internationally networked, technologically capable and competitive industry that contributes to national security of supply is a vital partner to us and plays an important part in the upholding and development of the Defence Forces. Therefore it is necessary that certain measures are taken to improve the operational preconditions and promote the internationalisation of the industry. These measures range from utilising requirements for Industrial Participation to the best use for Finnish defence and Defence industries to promoting exports and ensuring adequate R '&' D funding

Q5. How much is Finland's arms sale until 2010?

A5. The value of actual defence materiel exports has varied from 40 to 100 million Euros per year between 2002 and 2009. However, in recent years there have been a couple of bigger sales. In 2009 the value of export licenses granted was over 160 million Euros and in 2008 even 340 million Euros. One important export product is Patria AMV (Armoured Modular Vehicle) and there have been AMV sales to Poland, Croatia, Slovenia and South Africa. Also Sweden has recently decided to buy AMVs. Other products are ammunition, protective and decontamination equipment and electronic and communication equipment. The main destination to Finnish products has been Europe as usually 60-90 percent of annual sales have been exported to European countries. However, there are ongoing projects in other parts of world as well. One important area is naturally the Arab Gulf area. - Emirates News Agency, WAM

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