Erkki Tuomioja (SDP), the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Erkki Tuomioja (SDP), the Minister for Foreign Affairs, considers the recent killings of two Finnish relief workers in Afghanistan regrettable but reminds that conditions in the country remain dangerous for all foreign nationals.

“Also for relief workers,” he highlights. “This has happened before, but this is the first time Finns have been targeted in an attack.”

The act, Tuomioja estimates, may be an indication of the growing desperation of Taliban.

“The attacks are an attempt to drive away foreigners.”

Regardless, the Minister for Foreign Affairs believes the operation to transfer responsibility for stability in Afghanistan to local authorities is progressing. After this year, the international community is set to concentrate its efforts on supporting and training Afghan troops.

“The situation in Afghanistan is and will stay frail,” he nonetheless cautions.

Tuomioja on Saturday also voiced his concerns over the unresolved conflict in Gaza, viewing that the hostilities between Israel and Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic organisation, have left many frustrated, thinking ‘not again’.

According to Tuomioja, it is crucial to use the truce to initiate a genuine peace-building process. “It has to end in the implementation of a two-country model. Otherwise, this will happen again.”

Europe, Tuomioja believes, should assume a more active role in the peace-building process. “The EU has been passive. Everyone knows that the United States is in a decisive position, but that alone will not be enough,” he stated.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva