NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The U.S. State Department says its special envoy to the Horn of Africa will end his appointment “in the coming days” after a year marked by deadly crises in Ethiopia and Sudan.
Envoy Jeffrey Feltman plans to step down shortly after his current visit to Ethiopia, where more than a year of war in the country’s Tigray region has killed an estimated tens of thousands of people.
Ambassador David Satterfield, a veteran diplomat who most recently served as U.S. ambassador to Turkey, will succeed Feltman, a Thursday statement from Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
Turkey is one of a number of countries reportedly supplying drones to Ethiopia’s government in the war.
Leaders in both Ethiopia and Sudan have frustrated Feltman, a longtime career U.S. diplomat who retired in 2012 and joined the United Nations as undersecretary for political affairs, in his current envoy role.
Ethiopian authorities repeatedly assured him and others they would seek a peaceful resolution to the country’s crisis even as conditions deteriorated.
And on the eve of last year’s coup in Sudan, military officials told Feltman during meetings in Khartoum that they did not plan to remove the prime minister by force. Three hours after leaving Sudan, Feltman learned of the coup.
Blinken said the Horn of Africa’s challenges “demand sustained focus by the United States.” He said Feltman would continue to serve the State Department as an adviser.
The news came the same day China’s foreign minister announced that his country would appoint a special envoy to the Horn of Africa.