By T. Roble
GOOBJOOG NEWS|WASHINGTON: The newly appointed U.S envoy to the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman will be making his first visit to the Horn and northern African countries within the first two weeks of May, the US government has said.
A statement from the State Department noted the veteran diplomat will be heading to Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia from May 4 to May 13, 2021.
According to the statement, the envoy will hold meetings with officials from the respective governments as well as the United Nations and the African Union’. The envoy will also meet with a range of political stakeholders and humanitarian organizations, the statement added.
The visit, the statement department also noted, underscores the Biden administration’s ‘commitment to lead a sustained diplomatic effort to address the interlinked political, security, and humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa, and he will coordinate U.S. policy across the region to advance that goal.’
The appointment of a special envoy follows a series of development in the Horn of Africa region. In Ethiopia, the fighting in Tigray region is entering the seventh month with no end on sight as the Abiy Ahmed administration maintains a military option is the only way out. His cabinet endorsed a proposal last week to declare the TPFL and Sheene groups as terrorist organisations further dashing any prospects of dialogue.
Tensions too remain between Ethiopia and Sudan following the annexation of the contested Berkat Norain which had been under Ethiopia control by Sudan.
SOMALIA’S ELECTORAL CIRCUS
Somalia is undergoing turbulent times amid failure to agree on elections by the country’s leadership which culminated in a failed attempt by the outgoing president Mohamed Farmaajo to secure two more years in office. Prime Minister Mohamed Roble whom Farmaajo handed responsibility to pursue the electoral process announced a resumption of talks on May 20.
Though the new US envoy will not be visiting Somalia, he will be expected to engage with the African Union on the appointment of the AU Special Envoy to Somalia who is set to mediate the ongoing electoral process.
Sudan and Egypt remain at loggerheads following the Grand Rennaissance Dam (GERD) even as a Washington mediated deal failed to materialise. The two countries have stood ground on their positions regarding the Nile river water project amid fears of tensions between them.
Eritrea which emerged from global isolation in 2019 following the resumption of relations with Ethiopia and Somalia has been in the spotlight again following its military support to the Abiy Ahmed government in crushing the TPFL rebels.