In Horn of Africa, special envoy Jeffrey Feltman communicates US vision

U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman returned on Friday from his first trip to the region, as actions taken now to resolve disputes could have long-term effects on regional security and prosperity.

“The Horn of Africa is at an inflection point, and the decisions that are made in the weeks and months ahead will have significant implications for the people of the region as well as for U.S. interests,” the State Department said.

During his trip from May 4-13, Feltman met with heads of state and other officials in Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia to urge immediate action on the crisis in the Tigray region of Ethiopia and to push countries to cooperate over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute.

The U.S. continues to press for a ceasefire and increased humanitarian access in Tigray – Feltman, in a meeting with Eritrean President Isaias Afweki in Asmara, Eritrea urged a withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Ethiopia.

The U.S. is also committed to holding accountable “those responsible for human rights abuses and violations” over the course of the months-long conflict that has left some 4.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

Regarding the GERD project, the U.S. sees African Union (AU) mediation as essential to resolving the dispute, and has offered political and technical support.

“Substantive and results-oriented negotiations” under AU leadership, the U.S. believes, is the most effective way to reconcile differences peacefully – Egypt and Sudan are concerned about water security, and safety and operation of the dam. For Ethiopia, the dam is a major development project.

As it stands, AU-led negotiations have broken down, and Ethiopia is expected to continue filling the dam reservoir sometime “around” July, a move Egypt strongly opposes.

Thus, Feltman will be returning to the region shortly, the State Department said in a statement.

What’s noteworthy about the U.S. approach to resolving regional conflicts and disputes is its framing of issues into a vision for “a prosperous and stable” Horn of Africa whose “citizens have a voice in their governance and governments are accountable to their citizens.”

U.S. cooperation with Sudan over the GERD dispute is part of a larger effort to support Sudan’s political transition while mitigating threats to its stability so that Sudan, “can claim its place as a responsible regional actor after three decades as a destabilizing force.”

But the linchpin of the U.S. vision is a “sovereign and united” Ethiopia for which there are many challenges.

“The crisis in Tigray is also symptomatic of a broader set of national challenges that have imperiled meaningful reforms,” the State Department said.

The U.S. therefore sees an “inclusive effort to build national consensus on the country’s future…based on respect for the human and political rights of all Ethiopians,” as the most effective means to address challenges.

Show More
error: Alert: Share This Content !!

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker