New US envoy to Africa to visit Ethiopia and Sudan

U.S. envoy, assistant secretary of state meets leaders and civil society actors during severe crises in the two African countries.

The new U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, and Assistant Secretary of State Molly Fey will visit Sudan and Ethiopia next week as crises continue in the two African countries.

U.S. officials will also travel to Saudi Arabia.

Satterfield and the Philippines will visit Khartoum, where they will meet with Sudanese democracy activists, women and youth groups, civil society and military and political figures, the State Department said in a statement Friday.

The two will meet with Friends of Sudan, an organization calling for the restoration of a transitional government in the country. military coup in October.

The meeting was aimed at “mobilizing international support” for the UN’s mission in Sudan “to promote a new civilian-led transition to democracy,” the statement said.

Since the Oct. 25 coup ended a power-sharing arrangement that began in 2019, large crowds have regularly taken to the streets in Sudan to demand a return to civilian rule.

“Their message will be clear: the United States is committed to freedom, peace and justice for the Sudanese people,” the statement said.

In Ethiopia, the pair will hold talks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to find a solution deepening the civil war.

“They will encourage government officials to seize the current opportunity for peace by ending air strikes and other hostilities,” the statement read.

They will also demand the establishment of a ceasefire, the release of political prisoners and the restoration of humanitarian access.

On January 6, Satterfield, the former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, was appointed to replace Jeffrey Feltman as special envoy.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which threatened to march on Addis Ababa last December, has retreated to its stronghold and the government has not pursued further rebels on the ground.

Feltman resigned during a visit to Ethiopia to encourage peace talks to end more than a year of war following the withdrawal of rebels in Tigray.

Feltman has also tried to resolve the crisis in Sudan, but in October Sudan’s military rulers, General Abdel Fattah Burhan, staged a coup d’état immediately after the US envoy left the country.

Feltman’s resignation comes days after Sudan’s civilian prime minister, Abdullah Hamdok, resigned, leaving Burhan the country’s undisputed leader despite calls from the West to preserve the democratic transition initiated in 2019.