Biden dispatches U.S. Special Envoy for Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman to Ethiopia, Djibouti and UAE as crisis in Tigray worsens

U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman will travel to Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates from August 15 to August 24 to promote peace, the Biden administration announced on Thursday evening.

Abiy Ahmed 
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali

“Special Envoy Feltman will meet with senior officials in the three countries to discuss opportunities for the United States to promote peace and support the stability and prosperity of the Horn of Africa,” read a State Department statement.

The conflict in Ethiopia has continued to worsen in recent weeks even after a unilateral ceasefire was declared by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on June 28.

On Tuesday, the Ethiopian government sent a national call for “all capable” citizens to join the military to finish the war in Tigray “once and for all.”

The call effectively ended the ceasefire and cast doubt that a political solution could be reached to end the devastating war which has left hundreds of thousands of people at risk of an unprecedented famine.

USAID Administrator Samantha Power who visited Ethiopia last week tweeted on Monday that the situation there is “not a crisis” but “a catastrophe.”

Power said 5.2 million of the 6 million people in Tigray were at risk of famine while rape was rampant.

This week, Amnesty International released a report detailing how women and girls were targeted and raped by forces aligned to the Ethiopian government.

Feltman, a veteran diplomat and peace maker, will be arriving the country next week amid all those challenges.

Djibouti is Ethiopia’s neighbor, which houses a very important port in the region, and is home to the only permanent U.S. military base in the region.

In Djibouti, Feltman might be meeting with officials there to use the port for humanitarian access into Tigray, while in the UAE, the Special Envoy would seek to enlist an ally into applying more pressure for peace to return in 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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