December 7, 2022

U.S. Special Envoy David Satterfield travels to Ethiopia to revive possible peace talks as top Biden diplomat Mary Catherine Phee arrives in Chad

David Satterfield
David Satterfield

The United States Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa David Satterfield is in Ethiopia March 21-22 to meet the Ethiopian government, African Union (AU), and United Nations officials, as well as representatives of humanitarian organizations.

On Monday, Satterfield met with AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa and former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Bankole Adeoye to discuss engagement on regional affairs, including Sudan and Ethiopia, the State Department said in a statement.

The conflict in Ethiopia seems to have taken a back seat in U.S. foreign policy agenda as the war in Ukraine rages on.

Peace has remained elusive in Ethiopia since a conflict between Ethiopian federal forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) exploded on November 4, 2020. Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands remain at an increased risk of famine.

At some point, it appeared as though both sides were ready for negotiations, but as months went by and a new U.S. envoy was appointed, hope has continued to fade.

Mary Catherine Phee travels to Chad

Mary Catherine Phee has been nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and Chair of the Board of Foreign Service

Meanwhile, United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Mary Catherine Phee is on an official visit to N’Djamena, Chad, March 20-22 for bilateral meetings.

Assistant Secretary Phee is expected to meet with the President of the Transitional Military Council Mahamat Déby and other senior officials to highlight the importance of an inclusive national dialogue and a timely transition to a freely elected civilian government.

“She will discuss our shared interest in security in the Sahel and Lake Chad region. Assistant Secretary Phee will reinforce the importance of shared U.S.-Chadian commitments to address humanitarian challenges and promote respect for human rights, including combatting trafficking in persons. She will also meet with civil society representatives, multilateral partners, humanitarian actors, and the private sector to advance stability and prosperity for the Chadian people and the region,” the State Department said in a media note.

Brian Nelson traveled to Kinshasa, DRC

United States Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson also traveled to Kinshasa, DRC this week as the last stop on his three-country visit to Africa.

While in Congo he met with senior officials, including President Felix Tschikedi, to discuss efforts to fight corruption, counter the financing of terrorism, enact systemic AML/CFT reforms, and disrupt the illegal mining trade.  

Belgian national Alain Goetz sanctioned for fueling conflict in Congo

On Thursday in Kinshasa, Under Secretary Nelson announced new Treasury sanctions on Alain Goetz, a Belgian national who operates a network of companies involved in the illegal gold trade that fuels armed conflict and deprives the Congolese people of resources and revenue. 

“President Biden has identified combatting corruption at home and abroad as a key national security priority. Under Secretary Nelson’s visit builds upon recent high-level administration visits to the country and underscores the strong partnership between the U.S. and the DRC in the fight against corruption,” the U.S. State Department said. “To that end, in addition to President Tschikedi, he also met with Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, Minister of Finance Nicolas Kazadi, Minister of Justice Rose Mutombo Kiese, Central Bank Governor Malangu Kabedi-Mbuyi, CENAREF Executive Secretary Adler Kisula, Inspector General of Finances Jules Alingete Key, and Agency for the Fight Against Corruption Director Thierry Mbulamoko.”

Additionally, Under Secretary Nelson hosted roundtables with civil society and the Congolese Bankers Association to hear their perspectives on reform efforts.

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