TALLINN – This week, diplomat Tanel Sepp will take up his duties as the new Estonian charge d'affaires to the African Union in Addis Ababa.
In recent years, Estonia has considerably expanded its links with the states and organizations of the African continent. "This year is particularly important for the relations of the European Union and Africa, instability on the African continent is also a security threat for Europe. It is in our interests to cooperate with African states to stop illegal migration, so that they would be able to control their borders and readmit people. It is also in the interests of Estonian entrepreneurs to seek new export opportunities in African countries. Appointing a charge d'affaires to the African Union gives us a better understanding of what is happening in this part of the world, primarily from the economic and security perspective," Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said in a press release.
According to the minister, this new position adds to Estonia's capabilities as a member of the UN Security Council. "Many issues the Security Council is dealing with concern the crises in Africa. Addis Ababa offers a chance to communicate directly with several countries in this context, including the African Union," the foreign minister said.
Estonia has a memorandum of understanding on digital cooperation with the African Union from 2017. Estonia's ambassador to the African Union is Miko Haljas who resides in Cairo.
Tanel Sepp is an experienced diplomat who joined the foreign service in 2003 and has been posted to Luxembourg, Estonia's Permanent Representation to the European Union, Estonia's Special Mission to Afghanistan and the Estonian embassy in Washington, D.C. In 2015, he joined the Ministry of Defense and headed its cyber policy department from August 2019.