Finnish President Sauli Niinisto speaks to media in Helsinki, Finland on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014InternationalIndiaAfricaHELSINKI (Sputnik) – Finnish President Sauli Niinisto did not support the idea to close the Russian Consulate in the Finnish city of Mariehamn on the Aland Islands, saying, however, that the country would respond if the mission was involved in the activity incompatible with the diplomatic status. Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik that it was aware of the “civil initiative” in Finland calling for the closure of Russia’s consulate on the islands, and expressed hope that the Finnish government would fulfill its obligations to ensure the demilitarized status of the islands and Russia’s diplomatic presence there. RussiaFinnish President Says There is ‘Major Escalation Risk’ in Europe as Country Debates NATO Membership20 March 2022, 11:48 GMT”Of course, if you work under the diplomatic status, your job should comply with diplomatic norms. And we are watching this. At the same time, there is a question, whether today’s satellite surveillance is much more effective than the ground-based surveillance. In this case, the role of this consulate is now not that important as it used to be. But if there is some inappropriate activity, Finland surely respond in accordance with all diplomatic rules,” Niinisto told the local broadcaster, commenting on the initiative. Earlier in the month, a so-called civil initiative was registered in Finland calling on the government to close the Russian consulate on the Aland Islands due to the country’s accession to NATO. As of Saturday, as many as 30,000 people signed the initiative. It has to be signed by at least 50,000 citizens for the country’s parliament to consider the proposal. Debate on Re-Militarising Key Baltic Archipelago Underway in Finland27 April 2022, 07:33 GMTRussia’s consulate in Mariehamn was opened in 1940 under the Moscow Treaty signed by the Soviet Union and Finland following the Winter War of 1939-1940 between the two states. The island’s demilitarized status was set forth in the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947.