Åland Islands mark 100 years since avoiding Finland’s conflict with Sweden

The Åland Islands – a scenic and autonomous archipelago part of Finland – have marked a centenary since a conflict with Sweden was avoided by singing the Åland Non-Fortification and Neutralisation Convention and a lasting peace was ensured, Finnish public broadcaster YLE reports.
Located in the Baltic Sea between Finland and Sweden, the Ålands have Swedish as their official language and is popular among Baltic fishing enthusiasts.
October 20 marked the centenary of the signing of the treaty on the demilitarisation and neutralisation of Åland Islands by the member states of the then League of Nations, in which Finland was also to guarantee the tradition of the Swedish language, the island’s local culture and its system of self-governance. The issue of the archipelago’s autonomy was close to triggering an open conflict between Finland and Sweden more than a hundred years ago, as cited by Finish President Sauli Niinistö in his speech.
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«The Åland Convention is a stabilising force for peace in the Åland Islands. It is not a historical relic, but a living entity and a much-needed agreement for the Baltic Sea region,» noted Niinistö, who was unable to visit the islands because of bad weather, instead delivering his speech virtually, YLE reports. «I am happy to note that an issue that was once in danger of generating conflict has been successfully solved in a manner that is favourable to all.»