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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen At the Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding To Expand Collaboration on Countering Foreign Information Manipulation

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good morning, everyone.  And I first want to simply say to my friend and colleague, Elina, congratulations.  Congratulations on one year of Finland’s membership in our Alliance.  This has been an extraordinary year, but really made all the more extraordinary by the accession of Finland and now Sweden to NATO, an Alliance that is stronger, bigger, more united than it’s ever been.  Our own bilateral cooperation between Finland and the United States is at a historic high.  Finland has also been unwavering in its support for Ukraine.  We see that every single day.

The memorandum of understanding that we just signed is also important.  It’s an initiative that will allow our countries to work more closely together to combat one of the new challenges of our time, which is misinformation, information that governments use to exploit divisions in our respective societies.  Signing this today signals our shared commitment – Finland and the United States – to work together to combat it and to do so even more effectively.  So I couldn’t be more pleased for this moment, but especially the last year.

FOREIGN MINISTER VALTONEN:  Secretary Blinken – dear Tony – it’s such a pleasure that we are celebrating 75 years today of NATO.  And of course, now having been one year an ally – we have to say that Sweden is also in our membership finally, so it’s complete.  So it’s really a week of celebration for us even though the challenges we are facing around the world.  But a great pleasure to sign this memorandum of understanding countering foreign state information manipulation.  The relationship between Finland and the United States is as broad as it is deep, with active collaboration across multiple sectors.

Our relationship is built on a strong foundation of shared values and unwavering respect for the rule of law.  Information manipulation is a growing challenge to democratic countries and open societies like ours, who also cherish the value of free speech.  It is used as a destructive political instrument in attempts to influence minds, values, attitudes, and societies in an unacceptable way.  The MOU refers to new technologies, including artificial intelligence.  AI makes it easier to mass produce disinformation, but it also provides tools to track disinformation more effectively.  So as an engineer myself, I try to see the positive sides of technology as well, which of course brings us all a lot of prosperity and opportunities for the future.  Thank you so much.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thanks, everyone.

Official news published at https://www.state.gov/secretary-antony-j-blinken-and-finnish-foreign-minister-elina-valtonen-at-the-signing-of-the-memorandum-of-understanding-to-expand-collaboration-on-countering-foreign-information-manipulation/

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