Press release 106/2014
Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto will travel to South Sudan on 4−5 May. In Juba, capital of the country, the Minister will meet representatives of the South Sudanese administration, national and international actors – including UN and EU representatives – and aid donors. The purpose of the visit is to send a strong message to the parties fighting in South Sudan that violence and human rights violations must stop immediately.The troops of both the South Sudanese government and opposition have been guilty of serious human rights violations and of stirring up ethnic violence. The biggest burden of the conflict, which began in December 2013, has been borne by innocent civilians. As many as 10,000 people are estimated to have lost their lives and approximately one million have been forced to leave their homes because of the fighting.
The trip takes place at a time when tentative positive results have been reached in the negotiations conducted under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), regional organisation of the Horn of Africa, and the situation in South Sudan has also been attracting increasing international attention.On 2−3 May, before his trip to South Sudan, Minister Haavisto visited Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he met for example Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia Tedros Adhanom, and Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union Smail Cherguin. In addition, the Minister met regional and international negotiators and parties of the conflict. The people Haavisto met emphasised the urgent need to end the fighting and conclude a peace agreement. The poor humanitarian situation in South Sudan is expected to get even worse as the rainy season begins.
Haavisto visits the area also in his capacity as the co-chair of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS). At the moment, the international community focuses on immediate cessation of fighting, but, as the peace negotiations proceed, it is also important to invest in arrangement of a national and inclusive reconciliation process, and peacebuilding and statebuilding. Achievement of a lasting peace calls for development of a good and transparent governance and institutions, intervention in corruption, enhancement of the economic circumstances of the citizens, and building of trust between the state and the citizens of South Sudan. The objective of Minister Haavisto’s visit is to strengthen the cooperation between aid donors and international actors.Additional information: Sirpa Mäenpää, Ambassador, tel. +251 911 203700; Maria Kurikkala, Diplomatic Adviser, tel. +358 40 0735991; and Milma Kettunen, Press Attaché, tel. +358 40 5229869