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Belarus-Finland Political Dialogue

Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Finland were established on February 26, 1992.
On December 5, 2011 the Embassy of Belarus in Helsinki was established thus manifesting the seriousness of Belarus' intention to further develop the mutually beneficial cooperation with Finland.
On October 24, 2013 Alexander Ostrovsky, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Finland, presented credentials to Mr. Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland.
On October 1, 2010 a section of the Embassy of Finland in Lithuania was opened in Minsk. Ambassador of Finland to Lithuania Christer Michelsson is concurrently accredited to Belarus. In September 2017 Janne Heiskanen was appointed as the Head of Liaison Office of Finland in Minsk.
The political cooperation remains pragmatic and mutually advantageous. Belarus and Finland cooperate regularly and in a flexible manner with different degree of enhancement. Among the most significant political events of the last few years one should accentuate the visit to Belarus of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb (October 2008), the working trip to Finland of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Sergei Martynov (October 2009), the visit of the Finnish Parliament delegation (January 2009) as well as visits to Belarus by Finnish business delegation led by the deputy of the Finnish Parliament, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs I.Kanerva and the delegation of Finnish official and business circles led by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs P.Huhtaniemi.
The opening of the Belarusian diplomatic mission in Helsinki served as a catalyst for the subsequent activation of bilateral relations in all areas.
Foreign ministers of Belarus and Finland meet on a regular basis within the framework of OSCE activities (Kyiv — December 2013, Basel — December 2014, Belgrade — December 2015). In September 2017 the Foreign Ministers met in New-York during the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.
In 2013 for the first time in history the President of the Republic of Finland S.Niinistö forwarded a congratulatory message to the President of the Republic of Belarus A.Lukashenko. A corresponding message of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus was addressed to the head of the Finnish foreign ministry. In December 2017 the President of Belarus, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs forwarded congratulatory messages to the top-level officials of Finland on the occasion of 100th anniversary of the country’s independence.
In 2013 the Belarus-Finland interministerial bilateral consultations were resumed. In 2016 they were held in Helsinki. The Belarusian delegation was headed by the Deputy Minister for foreign affairs A.Kupchina, the Finnish – by the Director General of the Department for Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the MFA T.Hakala. The latest round of consultation was held in Minsk in May 2017. The Belarusian delegation was headed by the Director of the Department for Europe of the MFA E.Vorobjev and the Director of the Pan-European Cooperation Department of the MFA A.Bushilo, the Finnish delegation – by the Director General of the Department for Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the MFA M.Henrikson.
In April 2014 the Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus A.Guryanov visited Finland to participate in the IV Belarusian-Finnish Economic Forum. During the visit he met with the Deputy Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland M.Anttonen.
In April 2015 and in September 2016 M.Anttonen visited Belarus at the head of the delegations of the Finnish business circles. He met with Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus N.Kochanova, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus A.Evdochenko and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus A.Guryanov.
The Finnish side was the co-initiator (jointly with Latvia) of holding an informal meeting in the format of the working breakfast of the foreign ministers of the EU countries with the participation of Belarussian Minister of Foreign Affairs V.Makei on December 14, 2015 in Brussels.
In June 2016, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus A.Kupchyna visited Helsinki as the head of the Belarusian delegation. During the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland T.Soini the sides discussed the state and prospects of the Belarusian-Finnish relations, cooperation between Belarus and the EU, and a number of other areas of cooperation.
At the meeting with the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Finnish Parliament A.Kaikkonen the main attention was paid to the issues of bilateral inter-parliamentary cooperation, taking into account the preparations to the parliamentary elections in Belarus.
In 2017 the Foreign Ministers of the two countries exchanged messages in connection with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Belarus and Finland.
Through the parliamentary cooperation, in 2016 the embassy assisted the member of the Finnish Parliament M.Tolppanen, who, as part of the delegation of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference (BSPC), visited Belarus to hold working meetings at the National Assembly and the MFA of Belarus on the issue of granting the Belarusian parliament an observer status to the BSPC.
On August 30-31, 2018 a delegation of the Parliament of Finland headed by Chairman of the Belarus-Finland friendship group Mr. Wille Rydman paid the first in the history of bilateral relations working visit to Belarus. The visit was organized with the active participation of the Embassy of Belarus in Finland.
Meetings of the Finnish MPs with the Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus M.Myasnikovich, as well as with the members of the working group of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus on cooperation with the Parliament of the Republic of Finland were held. The sides discussed the opportunities for intensifying bilateral interparliamentary cooperation as well as directions of cooperation in the economic and humanitarian spheres.
During the negotiations between the members of Finnish Parliament and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus O.Kravchenko a wide range of issues related to the dynamics and prospects for the development of bilateral relations between Belarus and Finland was discussed.
Finnish MPs also met with the Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus A.Khudyk and leadership of the Administration of Belarus Hi Tech Park.
The delegation attended the exhibition of Belarusian holography at the National Library and visited the Nesvizh district.
The first in the history of bilateral relations visit to Belarus of the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development K.Mykkänen was held on the initiative of the Embassy in April 2017. The negotiations with the First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus V.Matyshevski, Minister of Energy V.Potupchik, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs O.Kravchenko were conducted.
Currently the Embassy maintains regular contacts with representatives of different political structures of Finland, Presidential Administration, Parliament, Ministry for Foreign Affairs and other ministries. It allows to discuss the comprehensive range of issues that affect bilateral relations, political, economic and parliamentary ties.
Belarus and Finland pursue a policy of balanced cooperation within the framework of different international organizations (UN, OSCE, etc.). Finland acts towards Belarus within the context of the general policy of EU taking into account its national interests. The two countries respect each other’s initiatives on the international arena, support one another during election campaigns to various international bodies. The cooperation on issues affecting the environment of the Baltic Sea is productively expanding.