Finland, Sweden increase ties to NATO

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HELSINKI (AP) - Finland and Sweden say they will work more closely with NATO by signing a pact that allows assistance from alliance troops in the Nordic countries in emergency situations.

The Finnish government says the Host Nation Support agreement applies to situations which include "disasters, disruptions and threats to security."

It also enables joint training exercises and military cooperation.

Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said Wednesday that the pact does not mean Finland, which already trains and works closely with NATO in international operations, is joining the alliance.

Opinion polls in neighboring Finland and Sweden show majority opposition to NATO membership. Finland shares a 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) border with Russia.

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