Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

Jeffrey Feltman leaves the post after less than a year amid unrest in Sudan and Ethiopia.

U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman will resign the role “in the coming days” after a year marked by deadly crises in Ethiopia and Sudan.

Feltman plans to leave his post shortly after his current visit to Ethiopia, where more than a year of war in the country’s Tigray Region killed an estimated tens of thousands of people. The US diplomat met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Thursday, the State Department said.

David Satterfield, the outgoing US ambassador to Turkey, will take over the role, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday.

Blinken said the department intended Feltman’s appointment as special envoy would be less than a year, adding that he would continue to serve in an advisory role.

Satterfield, a veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service with more than four decades of experience, held a challenging position as U.S. ambassador to Turkey, where he handled a strained bilateral relationship between the two NATO allies.

Turkey’s increasing drone exports, most recently to Ethiopia, will be a common thread in Satterfield’s old and new roles. In December, Washington raised the issue of sales of armed drones to Ethiopia with Turkey. Sources said there was growing evidence that the government had used Turkish weapons against rebel fighters.

“Ambassador Satterfield’s decades of diplomatic experience and work amidst some of the world’s most challenging conflicts will be instrumental in our sustained effort to promote a peaceful and prosperous Horn of Africa and to advance American interests in this strategic region. promoted, “Blinken said.

Feltman, a veteran U.S. diplomat, accepted the post in April and quickly found himself in the midst of two major crises – Ethiopia’s escalating civil war between forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s army, as well as a military coup in Sudan in October.

Ethiopian authorities have repeatedly assured him and others that they would seek a peaceful solution to the country’s crisis, even if conditions worsened.

And on the eve of last year’s coup in Sudan, military officials told Feltman during meetings in Khartoum that they had no plans to remove the prime minister by force. Three hours after leaving Sudan, Feltman learned of the coup.

The US announcement came on the heels of one by China saying it would appoint special envoy to promote peace in the turbulent Horn of Africa and wants to shift focus to the mainland to trade infrastructure.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks in Kenya, which has been active since late 2020 in diplomatic efforts to stop war in Ethiopia between the TPLF and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s federal government.

He also visited Eritrea, which borders the northern Tigray region and was an ally of Abiy in a conflict that killed thousands of people, uprooted hundreds of thousands and spread hunger.

“To share political consensus and to coordinate actions, China will appoint a special envoy of the Chinese Foreign Ministry for the Horn of Africa,” Wang said via an interpreter at a news conference in the port city of Mombasa.

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