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Helsinki’s Long History of Hosting High-Level International Meetings - Embassy of Finland, Washington - Consulate Generals of Finland, New York, Los Angeles : Current Affairs


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Helsinki’s Long History of Hosting High-Level International Meetings 

The meeting of President Donald J. Trump and President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on 16th of July 2018 will continue a long tradition of Finland offering her good services for international talks.  Walk down the memory lane with us and have a look at some archive photos from other notable meetings and summits in Helsinki.


Here is a brief look at the other high-level summits hosted in Helsinki throughout the years.

1975 –  Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Photo: Kainuun Sanomat
Kekkonen and Ford
President Gerald Ford and his wife Betty discussing with President Urho Kekkonen in Helsinki.

Finland was in the spotlight of Cold War politics, when President Urho Kekkonen hosted the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in 1975. Finland had played an active role in the preparatory work for the conference since the late 1960s, and its non-aligned status was conducive to both the U.S. and the Soviet Union accepting the idea of Helsinki hosting the Final Conference. U.S. President Gerald Ford with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev among others signed the Helsinki Accords.

Photo: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum
President Ford addressing delegates during the Plenary Session of the CSCE in Finlandia Hall on August 1, 1975
President Ford addressing delegates during the Plenary Session of the CSCE in Finlandia Hall on August 1, 1975.

The Helsinki Accords of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was signed by a total of 35 heads of state or government. These leaders gathered in Helsinki in the spirit of détente and committed themselves to essential principles safeguarding security in Europe, including peaceful means of resolving conflicts, territorial integrity of states, as well as, human rights. For Finland, the conference in the summer of 1975 was the greatest international effort since the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

1990 – Bush & Gorbachev

Photo: LEHTIKUVA / Markku Ulander
George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev in Finland.

In September 1990, Presidents George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev met in Helsinki. The main item of their discussions was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, later leading to the Gulf War. For Finland, being a venue for a meeting of the leaders of the two great powers was important, particularly as it seemed to usher in a new era.

1992 – Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Photo: Tapio Vanhatalo
Mauno Koivisto and Boris Yeltsin in Helsinki in 1992
President Mauno Koivisto and Boris Yeltsin in Helsinki.

President George H.W. Bush visited Finland again in 1992 when the CSCE arranged a high-level meeting in Helsinki. Other participants included Boris Yeltsin of Russia and Helmut Kohl of the united Germany.

1997 – Clinton & Yeltsin

Photo:Yuri Kadobnovyeltsin_ahtisaari_clintonPresident Ahtisaari together with President Clinton and President Yeltsin in Helsinki. 

President Bill Clinton travelled to Finland in 1997 to attend a summit meeting with President Boris Yeltsin. Also First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton travelled to Finland at that time, and was very impressed by the leading role of women in the Finnish society.

2018 – Trump & Putin

Stazione ferroviaria di HelsinkiHelsinki Central Railway Station. 

Finland's President Sauli Niinistö stated ahead of the Presidents Trump and Putin meeting that: “Even small steps in reducing tensions would be in everybody’s interest.” 

Finland’s Position in the World

Finland has consistently advocated dialogue in international relations.

In the Cold War era, Finland pursued a policy of neutrality, being a Western democracy and neighbor to the Soviet Union.

Since 1995, Finland is member of the European Union, which is a deeply integrated economic and political union and a security community.  Finland promotes a strong EU, and has actively participated in the development of EU’s common foreign, security and defense policies.

Neutrality does not therefore describe Finland’s international position accurately anymore.

Finland advocates a strong transatlantic link, and is an active partner of the Nato.  Bilateral, regional and multilateral defense cooperation together with robust national capabilities form the core of Finland’s defense policy.

Finland is a firm proponent of the United Nations and other multilateral institutions and fora. International law is considered an important cornerstone of international relations. 

Finland contributes in many ways to stability and security in its own neighborhood but also globally.  Well-functioning relations with neighboring Russia are part of that policy, while Finland at the same time is shaping and adhering to the common policy by the European Union.  

Media accreditation for the Summit will begin during the first week of July. Follow the Ministry for Foreign Affairs' page for future updates:

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Updated 7/6/2018

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