Finland’s Minister of Defense Jussi Niinistö visited Washington on 21-22 March to attend a meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS. During his visit, Minister Niinistö also had a bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
The Coalition meeting, hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, took place on Wednesday, 22 March. It brought together foreign ministers and senior leaders from all 68 members of the Coalition which was established in 2014.
The aim of the Ministerial meeting was to discuss the progress of the Coalition and to accelerate international efforts to defeat ISIS in the remaining areas it holds in the Middle East. Additionally, the ongoing humanitarian crises affecting the region were discussed.
"Even though major armed combats will soon be over, the stabilization of the area will take a while. Long-term commitment to the project is thus needed," Minister Niinistö said at a press conference held at the Embassy of Finland.
Prior to the Coalition meeting, on Tuesday, 21 March, Minister Niinistö met U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis at Pentagon. The two defense leaders discussed a range of security issues and the bilateral security cooperation relationship between Finland and the U.S.
Secretary Mattis thanked the Minister for Finland's military contributions to the counter-ISIS fight and to NATO missions. The two exchanged insights on how to sustain robust military capabilities and noted the benefits of defense cooperation.