U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday named career diplomat David Satterfield as the new special envoy to the troubled Horn of Africa.
Satterfield, 67, who has experience in the Persian Gulf states, Lebanon and Iraq, most recently has served as ambassador to Turkey. He is replacing Jeffrey Feltman, another veteran diplomat, who had held the Horn of Africa posting, covering the countries of Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia, since last April.
In making the appointment, Blinken said, “Ambassador Satterfield’s decades of diplomatic experience and work amidst some of the world’s most challenging conflicts will be instrumental in our continued effort to promote a peaceful and prosperous Horn of Africa and to advance U.S. interests in this strategic region.”
The top U.S. diplomat said Feltman, 63, would continue to work at the State Department in an advisory capacity on African affairs.
In assessing his tenure in the Horn of Africa in November, Feltman pleaded for an end to the “violence, humanitarian catastrophe and atrocities in northern Ethiopia,” in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions.
The Ethiopian government has been at war with Tigray’s ruling TPLF party since November 2020.
“But we are also deeply concerned with violence and tensions elsewhere in Ethiopia,” Feltman said. “If not addressed through dialogue and consensus, these problems can contribute to the deterioration of the integrity of the state.”
Last month, the State Department also expressed concern about Somalia’s delayed elections and what it called “the procedural irregularities that have undermined the credibility” of those polls.