Special Envoy for Africa’s Horn From May 4 to 13, 2021, Jeffrey Feltman, the United States’ Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, made his first trip to the area, visiting Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
The Horn of Africa is at a crossroads, and the decisions taken in the coming weeks and months will have far-reaching consequences for the citizens of the country as well as for US interests. The United States is committed to resolving the interconnected regional crises and promoting a prosperous and secure Horn of Africa in which people have a say in governance and governments are accountable to them.
The current vision includes a sovereign and independent Ethiopia. Nonetheless, we are profoundly worried about the country’s growing political and ethnic division. The atrocities occurring in Tigray, as well as the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis, are unacceptably high. The United States will work with our international allies and partners to negotiate a truce, end this heinous war, provide life-saving aid, and keep those responsible for human rights violations accountable. The crisis in Tigray is also symptomatic of a larger collection of national issues that have thwarted substantive reforms.
As Special Envoy Feltman discussed with Prime Minister Abiy and other Ethiopian leaders, the most successful way to resolve these problems is to create a national consensus on the country’s future that is based on respect for all Ethiopians’ human and political rights. The involvement of Eritrean forces in Ethiopia contradicts these objectives. Special Envoy Feltman emphasized to President Isaias Afwerki in Asmara the importance of Eritrean troops withdrawing from Ethiopia as soon as possible.
Sudan’s democratic transition could be a once-in-a-generation opportunity that serves as a model for the region.
Sudan’s leadership, as Special Envoy Feltman emphasized, will continue to receive US support for the country’s ongoing democratic transition so that Sudan can reclaim its position as a responsible regional player after three decades as a destabilizing power. We are also committed to working with international partners to help resolve regional flashpoints, such as the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and tension on Sudan’s borders, so that the fragile progress made since the revolution is not jeopardized.
As Special Envoy Feltman addressed with leaders in Addis Ababa, Cairo, and Khartoum, Egypt and Sudan’s concerns about water security, and thus the dam’s safety and service, are frequently reconciled with Ethiopia’s development needs through meaningful and results-oriented negotiations between the parties led by the African Union, which must resume immediately. We agree that the parties’ 2015 Declaration of Principles, as well as the AU Bureau’s July 2020 statement, are significant pillars for these negotiations, and the United States is committed to providing political and technical support to ensure a successful outcome.
The Special Envoy will return to the area for a brief visit in order to continue President Biden’s and Secretary Blinken’s intense diplomatic efforts.