Home | News    Wednesday 13 July 2005

EU names Finnish diplomat as representative for Sudan

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BRUSSELS, july 13 (Reuters) - The European Union named Finnish diplomat Pekka Haavisto as its first Special Representative to Sudan on Wednesday to coordinate its peacekeeping in the suffering Darfur region.

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Pekka Haavisto

Conflict between government forces and two rebel movements in western Sudan has killed tens of thousands of people and driven more than 2 million from their homes into refugee camps in Sudan and neighbouring Chad.

Haavisto is a former Finnish Minister for Environment and Development Cooperation and currently heads a United Nations task force for Africa’s Great Lakes region, the European Council of EU leaders said in a statement.

The EU, with NATO, is helping the African Union in Darfur in areas such as support for police, airlift, logistics and training, and is appointing Haavisto as a full-time representative to coordinate the work on the ground.

EU foreign ministers are expected to approve Haavisto’s appointment at a meeting on Monday, when they will also approve Russian-speaking Slovakian diplomat Jan Kubis as EU special representative for former Soviet Central Asia.

The EU has so far appointed special representatives to eight trouble spots including the Middle East, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Afghanistan, as it seeks to boost its foreign policy role.

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