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EU dispatches Finland’s FM to discuss support to Sudan’s transition

July 9, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto will visit Sudan on Thursday to assess the political situation and discuss with the Sudanese military officials and opposition representatives ways to support the democratic transition in the east African nation.

Haavisto’s visit after to Sudan follows a decision taken last June by the EU foreign affairs council to normalize relations with Sudan if a civilian-led transitional authority is formed in Sudan.

"When Sudan embarks on a transition to civilian rule, the EU looks forward to supporting the country in tackling the social, economic and political challenges and implementing the necessary reforms, and will provide assistance accordingly," the Council in a statement on 17 June.

" During his visits, Minister Haavisto will convey the European Union’s position on Sudan as agreed by the Foreign Affairs Council of 17 June to the different authorities and stakeholders and will then report to the 28 Member States in the Foreign Affairs Council upon his return," reads the statement.

He will also visit Ethiopia, Egypt Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In the three Arab states and Addis Ababa he will discuss ways to conjugate regional efforts with the international community to accompany Sudan on its transition path.

The Finnish top diplomat was the first EU Special Representative to Sudan from 2005 to 2007 as well as the Special Advisor for the UN Assistant Secretary-General in Darfur Peace Process in 2007 where he followed closely peace negotiations to end Darfur crisis.

"Thanks to his experience in the region, in particular in Sudan with both the EU and the UN, Minister Haavisto will explore how the EU can best support Sudan in its path towards democracy, respect for human rights and stability," said Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief.

Haavisto will be first in Addis Ababa his visit on 10 July where he will meet Ethiopian and African Union officials before to head to Khartoum where he will meet both the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change as well as other Sudanese interlocutors. On 16-18 July, Minister Haavisto will visit Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The European Union is expected to play a key role in the international efforts to provide economic support to Sudan during the three-year transitional period.

During a meeting on Sudan held in Berlin on 21 June, it was agreed to form an economic group to establish plans for economic relief in a first phase and then the debt relief later on when Washington remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.