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Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

History - Embassy of Finland, Abu Dhabi : Embassy : History


P.O.Box 3634
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Tel. +971-2-632 8927
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Short History of the Embassy of Finland in Abu Dhabi

Finland recognised the United Arab Emirates (the UAE) on 5 May 1972 and has had diplomatic relations with the UAE since 21 February 1975.

Carolus Lassila was the first Finnish ambassador who was accredited to Abu Dhabi in 1975. Two years later the ambassador Kai Helenius replaced him. Both of them were accredited to Abu Dhabi from Jeddah.

In 1982 Ambassador Pertti Ripatti was accredited to Abu Dhabi from Kuwait. Thereafter Esko Kunnamo worked as an ambassador of Finland in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi between 1985 and 1989. Tero Lehtovaara became the Ambassador of Finland in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi in 1989 but already in 1990 he was transferred to Helsinki due to the Gulf War. From Helsinki, Ambassador Lehtovaara worked as a roving ambassador until he returned to Kuwait after the war. Ambassador Pertti Kaukonen was the last Finnish ambassador who was accredited to Abu Dhabi from Kuwait between 1992 and 1997.

In 1997 Matti Pullinen became the first resident ambassador of Finland in Abu Dhabi. Ambassador Risto Rekola started in Abu Dhabi at the end of 2000 and he continued until the summer of 2004. Raimo Anttola started his duties in Abu Dhabi in the beginning of September 2004 and Matti Lassila in August 2007.  Ambassador Ilkka-Pekka Similä served in Abu Dhabi from 2011 to 2015. The present Ambassador Riitta Swan has been in her post since the beginning of September 2015.

Already in 16 April 1980, Finland got its first representation in Abu Dhabi in the form of the Consulate of Finland. The Consulate was opened on Istiqlal Street. Commercial issues in particular demanded an active Finnish presence in Abu Dhabi.

Harri Lahti became the first Commercial Counsellor in the Consulate in Abu Dhabi. Pekka Laitio followed him in 1984, and in 1988 it was Rainer Wegelius' turn to become Commercial Counsellor.

In 1991 the Consulate became the Embassy of Finland. The first Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy was Aleksei Lahti. Caj Söderlund came to Abu Dhabi in 1994 and became the last Chargé d'Affaires before Ambassador Pullinen took over in 1997.

Commercial Counsellors worked alone in Abu Dhabi together with a locally employed secretary. At the moment the number of staff sent from Finland at the Embassy is three, with five locally employed members of staff. Staff increases necessitated a larger office and the Embassy moved to its present office on Hamdan Street in 1999.

In 2003 the Embassy expanded to cover also Qatar and Bahrain from Abu Dhabi.

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Updated 9/1/2015

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