Interview: "A long list of issues" on Trump-Putin summit, veteran Finnish diplomat says

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-15 21:48:25|Editor: xuxin
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HELSINKI, July 15 (Xinhua) -- While expectations should not be too high for the upcoming Helsinki meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, a veteran Finnish diplomat said, contacts and communications will make the world a safer place.

Pertti Torstila, who served as the country's State Secretary for Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2014, was involved in the preparations for the summit here between the U.S. President Bill Clinton and his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin in 1997.

Helsinki proudly served as a meeting point for past leaders of the U.S. and the USSR -- and later Russia, and on Monday will again be in the spotlight for the bilateral summit.

"Finland arranges and organizes the meeting, offers the services of the host, and this has always been our way of thinking even in the coldest days of the Cold War," Torstila said.

"Both sides trust the Finns can do it, obviously, because they come here again, and I'm confident that we can do it," Torstila said, adding that "we expect that the two presidents, whom we welcome in Finland warmly, will do their part."

But the Trump-Putin summit is widely expected to be difficult, starting with what Torstila said as "a long list -- almost an non-ending list -- of issues that should be discussed, for instance Syria, Middle East, other regional problems in Ukraine, the European security order" and else.

The daunting task should not stop the meeting from taking place, Torstila believes, as "security does not come from building walls. Security comes from taking down the walls, so the more we have contacts and communication with each other, the safer place this world is".

"It's very important to understand that we're living in one world, on one globe where we are highly interdependent, so it's very difficult for me to understand the kind of philosophy America first and only the America first and nothing else," Torstila said.

There are also concerns, especially in Europe, about what agreements Trump and Putin could reach and their subsequent implications for countries not having a seat at the negotiating table in Helsinki, according to the Finnish diplomat.

"None of us want that these two countries will dictate the world order," Torstila said. "We would like them to play according to the rules that have been established by all of us together."

The veteran diplomat is concerned that some of the world's rules, based on which international relations had been conducted, have been broken as "President Trump doesn't seem to be interested in the way we used to see during earlier American presidencies".

"Let us not expect too much from this meeting, so that we would not, you know, be disappointed." Torstila said.