HELSINKI, Finland — After visiting Sweden, Navy Adm. James Stavridis, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), visited Finland from May 11-12 where he met with several government officials.
Stavridis was invited by Chief of Defense of the Finish Armed Forces, Gen.Ari Puheloinen. While there, he also had a meeting with the President of the Republic, Mrs. Tarja Halonen.
At the beginning of his tenure as SACEUR in July 2009,Stavridis declared his intention to pay a visit to all partner and NATO countries.
"It is grateful for us at NATO that Finland is with us in such important missions like International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan and NATO Kosovo Force," Stavridis told Finnish jouranlists. "They are currently participating in 150 troops Afghanistan and nearly 250 in Kosovo and they do it in a very good and effective way.
During his visit, he attended a ship ride to Satahamina Garrison to observe a navy display enroute and an army display presented by Finnish army Brig. Gen. Juha-Pekka Liikolam, Commander of the Finnish Southern Command. This live firing exercise, presented mostly by Finish conscripts, impressed him deeply:
"It was good to see these ambitious conscripts acting in this enthusiastic and professional way," said Stavridis.
Stavridis expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome and emphasised that he was particularly pleased with the productive talks and positive impressions he would be taking home from this visit.