The special U.S. envoy to the Horn of Africa is reportedly stepping away from the post with the region engulfed in political and humanitarian crises.
David Satterfield is resigning just three months after his appointment, according to unnamed current and former officials who spoke to Foreign Policy magazine. Satterfield replaced veteran U.S. diplomat Jeffrey Feltman, who served as special envoy to the Horn of Africa for less than a year on the job. The magazine said Deputy Special Envoy Payton Knopf will take over the role on an interim basis.
The special U.S. envoy to the crisis-engulfed Horn of Africa is reportedly stepping away from his post just three months after his appointment.
David Satterfield is set to resign, according to unnamed current and former officials who spoke to Foreign Policy magazine. Satterfield replaced veteran U.S. diplomat Jeffrey Feltman, who served as special envoy to the Horn of Africa for less than a year.
The magazine said Deputy Special Envoy Payton Knopf will take over the role on an interim basis.
The magazine said a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department refused to confirm Satterfield’s departure or say why he would step down.
Satterfield and Knopf are scheduled to arrive in Ethiopia April 13 for meetings with Ethiopian government officials and representatives of humanitarian organizations, according to the State Department.
“Their visit continues U.S. efforts towards ceasing hostilities, unhindered humanitarian access, transparent investigations into human rights abuses and violations by all actors, and a negotiated resolution to the conflict in Ethiopia,” said a spokesperson.
Satterfield has been trying to negotiate an agreement between the Ethiopian government and forces with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front to end a conflict that began in late 2020 and has since exploded into a civil war that has forced 2 million people from their homes.
Earlier this week, a joint report from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said newly appointed officials in Tigray and the neighboring Amhara region, acting with the acquiescence and possible participation of Ethiopian federal forces, systematically expelled several hundred thousand Tigrayan civilians from their homes using threats, unlawful killings, sexual violence, mass detention, pillage, forcible transfer, and the denial of humanitarian assistance.
“In Ethiopia, all parties to the country’s conflict, as well as Eritrean forces, have committed atrocities, and thousands of Ethiopians are being unjustly detained in life-threatening conditions,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Tuesday during the release of the State Department’s 2021 annual human rights report.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s neighbor in the Horn, Somalia, is dealing with severe drought that has left millions hungry, with parts of the country on the verge of famine.
Some information for this report came from Reuters.