News BlogAsia

An EU mediator to negotiate with the Taliban? A Finnish proposal


(BRUSSELS2) The Finnish Minister of Defense, Jyri Häkämies, considers it necessary to strengthen the role of the EU in Afghanistan and to appoint a “mediator”, specifically responsible for meeting opposition groups, preparing the peace and facilitate the process of national reconciliation. He thinks of one name in particular: Pekka Haavisto, current Green MP in Finland. The minister would like to propose this candidacy at the IFAS meeting which is being held at the end of October in Bratislava. « We need a person in Afghanistan who is able to speak not only with all ethnic groups, but also with the moderate Taliban. This would prepare for more stable development. » he explained during the Defense Days in September. This view is not automatically shared by everyone in the Finnish government. Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, for example, is more skeptical.

Haavisto has a long international career. He notably led the UN investigation team on depleted uranium in Kosovo, Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro (2000 to 2003), the UN task forces deployed in Afghanistan (2002), Liberia, in Iraq in the Great Lakes. He was EU special representative in Sudan from 2005. At the time (2002 – 2005), in Afghanistan – Haavisto tells a Finnish newspaper -, “it was possible to travel in the southern part of the country, which is now controlled by the opposition. It is confusing that while the international community supported the government, the opposition gained more ground».

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).