Pekka Haavisto tasked with Africa diplomacy mission

The veteran diplomat will be meeting with key regional figures to offer EU's help during a transition of power in crisis-hit Sudan.

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File picture of Pekka Haavisto (Green) / Credit: Vihreät

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) is heading to Africa this week, on a diplomatic mission to discuss the situation in Sudan.

Haavisto has been tasked to hold talks in several Red Sea countries including Sudan, Ethiopia, Saudia Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates by the EU’s de facto foreign minister Federica Mogherini.

In Sudan, the military and opposition have recently agreed to share power after soldiers deposed former President Omar al-Bashir in April. Bashir had himself seized power in a coup 30 years previously.

“This visit comes at an important juncture; an agreement has been reached between the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change in Sudan” says Haavisto in a statement.

“I wish to sincerely thank the African Union [and] Ethiopian mediation for their efforts. I will convey EU’s strong messages of support and encourage both sides to continue negotiations in order to solve the outstanding issues and allow for a swift transfer of power to a civilian government” says the foreign minister.

“It is crucial to quickly restore peace, guarantee prosperity, economic recovery, security, democracy and respect of human rights” Haavisto adds.

Haavisto, 61, is no stranger to diplomatic missions in Africa, having been the EU Special Representative for Sudan and Darfur from 2005 to 2007; as well as the Special Advisor for the UN’s Assistant Secretary-General in Darfur Peace Process in 2007.

The foreign minister starts his tour on Wednesday, meeting representatives from the Ethiopian government and African Union in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.