Skip to content

Pekka Haavisto Proposed as Mediator in Afghanistan

Defence Minister Jyri Häkämies has proposed former EU Sudan special representative Pekka Haavisto as a mediator in the Afghan conflict. Speaking at the opening of a defence course, Häkämies said mediation in the conflict should be carried out under EU auspices.

Pekka Haavisto EU:n Sudanin erityisedustajana Khartumissa helmikuussa 2007. Image: EPA/Philip Dhil

Häkämies said a mediator should be able to talk with all sides in the country including moderate Taliban leaders. He believes Haavisto has this qualification.

Haavisto has, for example, served as the EU's special representatives in the Darfur peace talks as well as in several U.N. missions. He is also a Green League MP.

"Someone is needed in Afghanistan who would be able to talk with not only various segments of the population, but also with moderate members of the Taliban. This would create conditions for stable development. There is now a need for stronger action by the EU and Finland should be active and propose solutions," said Defence Minister Häkämies.

Defence Minister Häkämies expects that in the future, Finland will contribute more to the training of Afghan forces by offering training in Finland. According to Häkämies, the emphasis is shifting from military conflict management to civil crisis management. In Afghanistan, he said, this will require significant development of the country's own security forces.

"The two clear trends in the Afghan operation are thus the shift of responsibility for security to the Afghanis and the shift in direction from military to civil crisis management. Finland will evaluate these alternatives from its own perspective this autumn and Parliament will present its own opinion," said Häkämies.

The defense minister also alluded to Finland possibly taking part in the development of Afghanistan's justice and administrative systems.

Monday's address by Häkämies was made against the background of international debate on the future of NATO's ISAF operation.

"Over the next few weeks, countries involved in Afghanistan will make a critical evaluation of what the operation has achieved and why the results have not lived up to expectations. I believe that on the basis of this analysis, an evaluation will be made of the operation's strategy and that will lead to changes," stated Häkämies. He added that the international community has understood the importance of an exit strategy.

Furthermore, the Finnish defense minister called for an investigation into charges of irregularities in Afghanistan's August presidential elections.

"There have been extremely serious accusations leveled against the legitimacy of the election. A legally elected leadership is essential for the peacekeeping operation," said Häkämies.

Haavisto: Mediation an EU Responsibility

Reacting to the minister's proposal, Green League Parliamentarian Pekka Haavisto said the EU should dispatch a mediator to Afghanistan.

While emphasizing it was premature to submit an application for a possible post, he commented it would be an achievement if Finland could provide a mediator.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia