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Suldaan Said Ahmed appointed Finland's Horn of Africa peace envoy

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Suldaan Said Ahmed, a former parliamentarian and diplomat, is Finland's new special envoy on peace mediation in the Horn of Africa, which is made up of Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti.

Finland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Elina Valtonen made the appointment on Wednesday, saying Suldaan would focus on supporting peace processes in the Horn of Africa, which has been grappling with challenges including political conflicts, terrorist attacks and drought.

The ministry noted that peace mediation was one of the priorities in Finland's foreign and security policy.

“Resolving conflicts peacefully has always been an aim of Finnish foreign policy. Said Ahmed’s extensive networks are a great asset in our work for stability in the region,” Valtonen said in a statement.

The ministry further said the appointment was a personal position of trust that Suldaan would carry out alongside his paid employment and duties as a city councillor.

Suldaan is a former member of the Finnish parliament, where he represented the Left Alliance Party for about one term. He was also the foreign minister's special representative on peace mediation in the Horn of Africa, serving from 2022-2023 during Pekka Haavisto's term.

When Haavisto appointed Suldaan on July 8, he said the move supported Finland's efforts to "further deepen relations with the countries in the region, promote peaceful solutions to conflicts and, as part of comprehensive security, highlight issues related to the region’s climate security and humanitarian situation".

The appointment was a personal unsalaried task that Suldaan undertook alongside his duties as a parliamentarian.

Suldaan's appointment comes at a time when Ethiopia and Somalia are feuding over a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that Ethiopia signed with Somaliland for sea access for military and commercial use.

The MoU allowed landlocked Ethiopia to lease a 20-kilometre marine base from Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia that claims autonomy but is not recognised as such, in exchange for recognition and a stake in the national Ethiopian Airways. Somalia, however, insists that Ethiopia has violated its sovereignty.

Thus far, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia has dared Ethiopia to implement the deal, saying it will react with equal force. He said he does not want a war and hopes his country will not be compelled to take that route.


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