1:15 P.M. EEST
PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ: So, Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure to wish you welcome to Finland. And I continue by thanking you for your strong support and your strong will to support us during the time that Finland has entered to a new era in our security policy.
And I have to tell you that this week in Vilnius was very impressive to experience the way you created unity amongst Allies. That was great to see.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you.
PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ: So, once again, I warmly welcome you, and I guess you got the best welcomes already on the streets of Helsinki — (laughter) — which are (inaudible).
PRESIDENT BIDEN: By the way, they are. They’re very –very gracious. Very gracious.
Well, it’s a delight to be here. It’s good to be back in Finland. This is my second visit. And it’s — you know, I remember a conversation you and I had when you called to come to the White House to talk about being a member —
PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ: Yes.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: — of NATO. And it took me about three seconds to say, “Yes.” Strong support.
PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ: Yes. (Laughs.)
PRESIDENT BIDEN: No, I mean it sincerely, because we had — we launched your ratification process — the fastest it’s occurred in modern history. The fastest ratification period in modern history.
You may remember my telling you — I said to our friend in the east that he wants the Finlandization of NATO; well, you’re going to get the NATO-ization of Finland.
PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ: (Laughs.)
PRESIDENT BIDEN: But all kidding aside, you know, you’re — you’ve been a great partner. We’re great allies. And, you know, Finland and the United States — I think we’re stronger together. And I really mean that. You’ve been an incredible asset to NATO and to the world.
The — and the main reason is we have the same value set. I really mean that. It really matters. And, you know, we’re deepening our defense cooperation to ensure that — the security of our people as we modernize your air force with the F-35 aircraft, which you already had.
And together, we’re standing for shared democratic values. That’s what it’s all about. I really think — and you’re very gracious and kind to give me credit for unity at — at NATO. But I think it’s — I’ve been doing this a long time; I don’t think NATO has ever been stronger.
PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ: You could sense a feeling of that.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: No, I — I believe that.
PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ: Yeah.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: And we had a — a very, very — I had a very good, long meeting with Zelenskyy, who ended up being very happy, and met with his military people.
And I think there’s a — I — it’s a different era in the nature of our relationship and bringing along Sweden as well. It makes a gigantic difference.
So, I’m anxious to continue to work with you.
PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ: It seems that when things get serious also, people understand that we have to stick together.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: And you putting together this U.S.-Nordic Summit means a lot to me as well, so I’m looking forward to meeting our colleagues. But I want to thank you. I mean, you’ve been an incredible, incredible partner.
1:18 P.M. EEST
Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2023/07/13/remarks-by-president-biden-and-president-sauli-niinisto-of-the-republic-of-finland-before-bilateral-meeting-helsinki-finland/