Ambassador Richard Norland named U.S. Special Envoy for Libya

The U.S. Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland will now also serve in the capacity of U.S. Special Envoy for Libya in addition to Chief of Mission for Libya, the Biden administration announced on Monday.

“In his role as U.S. Special Envoy, Ambassador Norland will lead U.S. diplomatic efforts to promote international support for a Libyan-led, inclusive, and negotiated political solution to the conflict, facilitated through the UN,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. “The addition of the U.S. Special Envoy role to Ambassador Norland’s Chief of Mission responsibilities signifies the importance the United States attaches to focused, high-level diplomatic outreach in support of the Libyan political process culminating in elections on December 24, 2021.”  

He will work closely with “key partners to strengthen efforts to keep the political process on track and ensure the removal of foreign forces from Libya,” the Department added.  

Ambassador Norland, a Career Minister in the Foreign Service and a three-time ambassador, has served as Chief of Mission at the Libya External Office in Tunis since August 2019.  

Ambassador Norland also will work closely with interagency colleagues in Washington, civil society, and humanitarian partners to further the U.S. role in actively supporting the Libyan people as they seek lasting peace, security, and prosperity in their country. The U.S. Special Envoy will also keep Congress closely informed of our efforts.  

“The Department congratulates Ambassador Norland on his new and expanded role in leading U.S. efforts in Libya and internationally to support a political solution to the Libyan conflict,” the Department added. 

While Norland is focusing on Libya, Donald Booth, the United States Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan is traveling to South Sudan from May 9 through May 13, 2021, to support peace and stability there, the State Department said in a statement on Saturday.

Special Envoy Booth will hold meetings with government officials, political stakeholders, and civil society and international partners, as the United States worries about the slow implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), ongoing violence, and deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions.

While Booth’s South Sudan and Sudan, nearby, U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman is currently traveling to EgyptEritreaEthiopia, and Sudan through May 13. The recently appointed ambassador is meeting with officials from those governments, as well as the United Nations and the African Union, in addition to political stakeholders and humanitarian groups.

The Special Envoy’s travel to the Horn of Africa is to help de-escalate tensions and address humanitarian crises in order to promote stability across the region.

One of the most pertinent topics of discussion will be addressing the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, which has been going on for six months now and has left at least 4.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

The United States has been vocal in pressing both Ethiopian and Eritrean leaderships to de-escalate the situation and work toward resolution. However, Eritrea has failed to honor the promise it made in March to end hostilities and withdraw troops from the region.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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