Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Representative of the European Union (EU). Pekka Haavisto, who arrived in Sudan on Saturday for a two-day official visit, today visited camps harbouring refugees from the Tigray conflict in neighbouring Ethiopia. Since his arrival, the EU envoy has met with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, Minister of Foreign Affairs Omar Gamareldin, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Yasir Abbas, and the Acting Wali (governor) of Kassala state El Tayeb El Sheikh.
The European Union said in a statement that Haavisto’s visit will focus on consultation over tensions in the region, to help in reducing tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia, and how the international community could provide support in finding peaceful solution to crises facing the region.
Haavisto is no stranger to Sudan, as he participated as EU Special Representative at the signing ceremony of the Constitutional Document, and worked earlier as EU Special Representative in Darfur.
At a meeting with Prime Minister Hamdok, other senior cabinet ministers and EU Ambassador, Robert Van Dool in Khartoum yesterday, Hamdok affirmed Sudan’s “unshakeable” position of not considering war against Ethiopia because of the border issue, as Sudan considers a settled since 1902.
Hamdok briefed Haavisto on Sudan’s position regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and its impact on Sudan.
Haavisto described the meeting as excellent and discussed a number of issues including the EU’s support for the democratic transition in Sudan and the economic reforms in the country.
He called for speeding up the formation of the Legislative Council as it considered one of the important structures of power.
Today, Haavisto and his delegation were received by the Acting Wali (governor) of Kassala state Al Tayeb El Sheikh during a visit to Kassala and El Gedaref states to inspect the situation of Ethiopian refugees at Um Rakoba Camp.
El Sheikh underlined the necessity of intervention by the international community for provision of needs of the refugees. He also indicated to continued influxes from Eritrea into the state.
Haavisto expressed appreciation to the government and people of Sudan “for receiving and hosting the refugees for long decades which reflects hospitality of the Sudanese people”.
The Finnish Minister pledged to urge the international community, donors, and the European Union, to provide every possible support to the refugees, the host communities, and governments of Kassala and El Gedaref states.