New US envoy for Horn of Africa to lead conflict resolution in region

Jeffrey Feltman was appointed Friday special envoy for the Horn of Africa. He had served as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs during the Obama administration.
Saturday 24/04/2021
A file picture of Jeffrey D. Feltman addressing a news conference in Mogadishu. REUTERS
A file picture of Jeffrey D. Feltman addressing a news conference in Mogadishu. (REUTERS)

WASHINGTON--Veteran US diplomat Jeffrey Feltman was named a special envoy for the Horn of Africa on Friday, as Washington looks to step up diplomatic efforts in a region hit by the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray and other crises.

Feltman also will lead international efforts to address tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan and around the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The dispute, which involves Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, has been impervious to regional and international mediations and is currently in an impasse.

Fighting in Tigray, between rebels and government forces from both Ethiopia and its neighbor Eritrea, has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands more from their homes in the region of about 5 million.

The dire humanitarian situation and violence, in South Sudan, Sudan’s Darfur region and Somalia are also matters of concern that the new envoy will have to address.

After serving in senior roles at the State Department, Feltman was UN political affairs chief from 2012 to 2018, a job that helps form UN policy and oversees UN mediation efforts.

Feltman visited North Korea in 2017, the highest-level UN official to visit since 2011, describing his four-day trip as “the most important mission I have ever undertaken”

Before working at the United Nations, he was assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs during the Obama administration and before that served as US ambassador to Lebanon, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority’s office in the Erbil province of Iraq and as a senior official at the US consulate general in Jerusalem and the US embassy in Tunis.