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15 Jul, 2018 22:17

‘Don’t agree on Europe over heads of Europeans’ – Finnish media pens open letter to Trump & Putin

‘Don’t agree on Europe over heads of Europeans’ – Finnish media pens open letter to Trump & Putin

Donald and Vladimir, the floor is yours for a tango, but don’t divide the world into spheres of influence, two leading Finnish journalists have urged, in a warning letter to both leaders ahead of their meeting in Helsinki.

“President Trump often seems to be in search of short-term political benefit at the expense of US allies, the international community,” journalists Saska Saarikoski and Laura Saarikoski wrote on Sunday ahead of the Trump-Putin meeting, scheduled for July 16. Their open letter, addressed to both leaders, was published in the nation’s leading paper Helsingin Sanomat.

The journalists, who have authored several books on Trump, are alarmed by the prospect of the US president making concessions to the “skilled negotiator” Putin who will sit down at the table “with a whole bunch of aces up his sleeve.”

“What is difficult to understand is the fact that President Trump has threatened and intimidated friendly countries while speaking warmly of autocratic leaders, and even of a tyrant like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un,” the open letter reads. The authors lament the fact that Trump shows no signs of “a persistent policy” required to pressure Russia into changing its attitude. They recall how some observers have raised fears of “a new Yalta where Trump and Putin would divide the world between them in spheres of influence.” By invoking Yalta, the authors refer to the 1945 meeting at which the leaders of the Soviet Union, the UK and the US decided on the political makeup of the world after defeating the Nazis in WWII.

Despite being “worried” about Trump’s rhetoric towards Russia and its president, the Finnish journalists hope that during the upcoming talks “everyone will nevertheless understand that European matters can no longer be agreed-on over the heads of Europeans.”

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“The deterioration of US-Russian relations is not beneficial to anyone,” the letter concludes.

Trump took flak at home and abroad for his willingness to meet Putin eye-to-eye and hold bilateral negotiations with him without preconditions. Some of the European politicians have been voicing concerns that Trump might be striking deals with Moscow without consulting or notifying EU and NATO allies.

During his recent trip to Britain, the US president called Putin “a competitor” and reiterated his longstanding view that it would be a “good thing” if the two nations could “get along.”

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