Responding to acute challenges in the Horn of Africa, with Finnish FM Pekka Haavisto

On Friday, June 18, the Africa Center hosted a private conversation on the situation in the Horn of Africa in advance of the June 21 Ethiopian general elections. The conversation featured Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Pekka Haavisto, who visited Ethiopia and Gulf states earlier this year under the mandate of European Union High Representative Josep Borrell. Africa Center Senior Fellow Mr. Cameron Hudson moderated the discussion, and Director Amb. Rama Yade provided opening remarks.

In his remarks, the Minister provided a readout of his February and April trips to the region, describing stakeholder meetings and the status of humanitarian access and reporting. He also commented on the negotiations surrounding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), due for its second filling this summer, and regional border disputes.

Throughout the subsequent discussion, participants engaged the Minister on election implications, expectations around Prime Minister Abiy’s post-election policy, the role of regional organizations, and the parameters for a credible national reconciliation. Hudson closed, remarking that the conversation is a reflection of the importance of US and EU cooperation on key regional issues.  

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