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US President Donald Trump and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö hold a joint press conference on August 28, 2017, at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)
President Sauli Niinisto on Tuesday denied that Finland was buying new fighter jets from American plane-maker Boeing, following remarks by US President Donald Trump.
Finland is looking to replace its ageing fleet of 62 F/A-18 Hornet jets with multirole fighter aircraft in a procurement estimated at 7-10 billion euros by 2025.
"One of the things that is happening is you're purchasing large amounts of our great F-18 aircraft from Boeing and it's one of the great planes, the great fighter jets," Trump said on Monday at a news conference with his Finnish counterpart in the White House.
US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with President Sauli Niinisto of Finland at the White House in Washington, DC, on August 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Niinisto, who was standing next to Trump, looked surprised but did not follow up on the comment. He later denied the deal with Boeing on his Twitter account and on Tuesday in Washington.
"It seems that on the sale side, past decisions and hopes about future decisions have mixed ... The purchase is just starting, and that is very clear here," Niinisto told Finnish reporters.
Helsinki is expected to request that European and US plane-makers provide quotations for new jets in 2018, with a final decision made in the early 2020s.
A government working group has listed possible candidates as Saab's Jas Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, Boeing’s Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and the Eurofighter, made by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain.

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