US African envoy to visit Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Ethiopia

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US African envoy to visit Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Ethiopia

WASHINGTON – The US special envoy for the Horn of Africa will visit Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Ethiopia next week in the midst of ongoing crises in the two African countries, the Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

David Satterfield and Deputy Secretary of State Molly Phee will travel to Riyadh, Khartoum and Addis Ababa from 17-20 January.

In Riyadh, the couple will meet with Sudan’s friends, a group demanding that the country’s transitional government be restored following a military coup in October.

The meeting aims to “marshal international support” for the UN mission to “facilitate a renewed civilian transition to democracy” in Sudan, according to the statement.

Satterfield and Phee will then travel to Khartoum, where they will meet pro-democracy activists, women’s and youth groups, civil society organizations and military and political figures.

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

In Ethiopia, the couple will talk to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to seek a solution to the deepening civil war.

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

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

Satterfield, the former US ambassador to Turkey, was appointed to replace Jeffrey Feltman as a special envoy on January 6.

Feltman stopped just as he was visiting Ethiopia in an attempt to encourage peace talks to end more than a year of war following the withdrawal of Tigrayan rebels.

The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, which last year threatened to march on Addis Ababa, had retreated in December, and the government has no longer pursued the rebels on the ground.

Feltman had also tried to deal with the crisis in Sudan, but he was treated without ceremony in October when Sudan’s military ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, carried out a coup just after the US envoy left the country.

Feltman’s resignation came days after Sudan’s civilian prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, stepped down and left Burhan as the undisputed leader of the country, despite Western calls to preserve a democratic transition that began in 2019.

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