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Air Force commander not to continue in office: minister

11 Jan 2019, 23:22 ( 5 Months ago) | updated: 11 Jan 2019, 23:24 ( 5 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö. File Photo Finnish government by Sakari Piippo.

Commander of the Finnish Air Force, General Sampo Eskelinen, will not be seeking a renewal of his term, Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö confirmed to media on Friday.

Eskelinen has been charged for negligence of duty as he allegedly did not react quick enough to the misconduct by a colonel in the autumn of 2017.

Eskelinen started as the commander of the air force in June 2017 and his current term ends in March, although he could have decided to continue until 2022.

Niinistö refused to speculate whether Eskelinen would have been reappointed if he had applied.

The minister also reacted to reports that an initial probe may be launched by the State Prosecution Office into the role of the Commander of the Defence Forces, General Jarmo Linberg.

Niinistö said Linberg would be able to continue in his duties as the commander during such an initial probe.

"But if actual investigation starts or charges will be raised, that is then another situation." said the minister, adding that Linberg has his full trust.

President Sauli Niinistö is to appoint a new commander for the air force next week.