Member of Parliament Suldaan Said Ahmed visited the Horn of Africa region in January. It was his third visit as Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto’s Special Representative on Peace Mediation. “Involving young people in peace processes and taking into account the diaspora from the region are important themes for me,” Said Ahmed says.
As Special Representative, Said Ahmed’s main task is to support peace processes in the region. His visits have focused on supporting peaceful resolution of internal political conflicts in Somaliland. Said Ahmed says that people in the region regard Finland a reliable and active international actor: “Mediation is a priority in Finland’s foreign and security policy and for a long time Finland has been a globally influential mediator. Indeed, Finland has made a long-term commitment to promoting peace and dialogue together with the countries of the Horn of Africa.”
The Horn of Africa is a fragile region, and internal political and armed conflicts in its countries have further eroded the stability of the region in recent years. The Horn of Africa is afflicted by climate-change induced drought that is the severest in decades.
“Drought and famine in the Horn of Africa can for their part aggravate the region’s conflicts and increase the number of refugees. That is why I believe it is important that we highlight issues of climate security and humanitarian crisis as part of comprehensive security,” Said Ahmed says.
In the Horn of Africa, the humanitarian crisis is the worst in Somalia. Half of the Somalian population, more than 8 million people, need humanitarian aid. Somalia is in a critical state because of natural disasters caused by climate change and ongoing conflicts. Said Ahmed’s role as Special Representative and his knowledge of the Somalian language and culture have given him a unique opportunity to promote dialogue among different parties.
“Finland and Somalia have a good and active relationship. Right now, it is important to support peaceful resolution of internal political conflicts especially in Somaliland by continuing our close contacts with all actors in the region to find a non-violent political solution,” Said Ahmed says.
By successfully building trust, Said Ahmed has been able to open a channel for conveying stabilising messages to Somaliland from the international community. He also stresses the need to find ways to support the young people in the region and give them brighter prospects for the future: “Instead of nightmare scenarios, we should give the young people hope and prospects for a better world. In this way, we can build sustainable peace,” Said Ahmed says.
Said Ahmed will visit Somalia again soon and continue his discussions with the different parties to the conflicts. His aim is to bring the parties to a common negotiation table.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.