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Finland warns ‘situation is very dangerous' in Middle East

Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo urges Iran, Israel to end ‘revenge attacks'

16:39 - 19/04/2024 Friday
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File photo
File photo

Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo on Friday raised concerns about the escalation of the situation in the Middle East after Israel's reported attack on Iran.

Finnish decision-makers are worried as "the situation is very dangerous," Orpo said at a press conference while speaking alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after visiting the Nordic country's border with Russia.

The prime minister called on both sides to refrain from new attacks. “Now it would be important to move forward, without a cycle of revenge,” Orpo added.

Similarly, von der Leyen urged Israel, Iran and their allies to refrain from escalation in the Middle East.

“We must do everything we can to ensure that all parties refrain from escalating the situation,” she told reporters.

“It is absolutely necessary that the region remains stable and that all sides restrain from further action,” she added.

The remarks came after a reported Israeli attack on Iran as sounds of heavy explosions were heard in at least two Iranian cities in the early hours of Friday amid an alleged Israeli attack inside Iran.

So far, there have been no comments from Tel Aviv's government, however, the country's War Cabinet has been discussing whole week as to how it should respond to Iran's weekend attack on Israel.

Iran on Saturday launched an airborne attack on Israel in retaliation for an April 1 airstrike on its diplomatic compound in the Syrian capital. It reportedly fired more than 300 drones and missiles, with almost all intercepted by the air defense systems of Israel and its allies – the US, France and the UK.

The Finnish prime minister also asked for EU measures to help Finland with regard to the influx of migrants from Russia.

“We visited with madame president the border and we described what kind of situation is – and now we have to find common solutions to stop this phenomenon when Russia used illegal immigrants against us. We are preparing our own legislation but we also need EU-level measures,” Orpo said.

“We are preparing our own legislation, but we also need EU measures,” Orpo said.

In December, Finland closed its border with Russia, with the Finnish authorities accusing Moscow of carrying out a suspected "hybrid attack" and purposefully assisting undocumented migrants in crossing into the Nordic country, which Russia denied.

Von der Leyen, for her part, said Helsinki's decision to close its border crossings was a security matter for the whole EU 27-member countries.

“We all know how (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and his allies instrumentalize migrants to test our defenses and to try to destabilize us.

“Now Putin is focusing on Finland, and this is no doubt in response to your firm support of Ukraine and your accession to NATO, “ she added.

The Nordic country's NATO membership drew criticism from the Kremlin, with Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing the West of "dragging" Finland into the military alliance and creating a rift between Moscow and Helsinki.

Helsinki is currently drafting legislation that would allow border guards to block asylum seekers from entering the country from Russia.

#Finnish Prime Minister
#Iran
#Israeli attack
1 month ago