Finnish president hopes Paris attacks could bring major countries together in repelling terrorism

2015-11-14 23:36:38 GMT2015-11-15 07:36:38(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

HELSINKI, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Finnish President Sauli Niinisto Saturday expressed his hope that the attacks in France could lead to "the great powers finding a common enemy".

Talking to the national broadcaster Yle after a joint briefing with the government, Niinisto said that in the wake of the tragedy in Paris a clear thought could be formed about a joint effort to repel terrorism.

The president mentioned Syria, Iraq and the Islamic State (IS) in the area.

"There are now Russian and American aircraft there. If they for once now could take a course towards the same direction," Niinisto said.

Niinisto repeated the concern he raised some months ago about the weakness of Finnish intelligence operations. He said intelligence gathering by Finland should be brought up to the level of "civilized European countries".

"We get information from others, somewhat on a goodwill basis, but we ourselves cannot gather much," he said.

There are plans under way to alter the legal framework of intelligence gathering in Finland. One of the issues is whether the Finnish security police should be given rights for internet surveillance. The plans have aroused major criticism as well and critics say it would restrict the basic rights of citizens in Finland.

Earlier on Saturday, the Chief of Security Police Antti Pelttari said that Finnish intelligence gathering has "major deficiencies in comparison with all western countries". He said the situation hampers anti-terrorism work in Finland.

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