HELSINKI, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Fifty-nine percent of Finns oppose Finland's bid for NATO membership, up from 55 percent a year ago, the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported on Saturday, citing a Gallup poll.
The main reason given by the opponents was that Finland could be drawn into conflicts that have no direct bearing on the Nordic country.
Fewer than one in four of those polled would want Finland's accession to NATO, with the strongest backing for NATO membership coming from supporters of the conservative National Coalition, the largest opposition party.
In an interview with a Finnish local newspaper on Friday, Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja called for a broader security policy debate.
Noting that alliance always has its risks, Tuomioja said the existing NATO cooperation was suitable for Finland.
Finland would gain nothing from joining NATO, he said, adding that Finland is an active member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program.
Tuomioja criticized what he saw as extensive pro-NATO sentiment in the Finnish press, and its attempts to influence public opinion on the matter.