U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman meets with local reporters in Tunis, Tunisia, on January 26, 2011, to discuss his visit there. (State Department photo)

Veteran Diplomat, Counterterrorism Leader Appointed as U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa

Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced today that veteran diplomat Jeffrey Feltman will serve as the U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa.

Feltman is the John C. Whitehead Visiting Fellow in International Diplomacy in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. Before joining Brookings, he served for nearly six years as the under-secretary-general for political affairs at the United Nations in New York.

As part of his U.N. responsibilities, Feltman was the chairperson of the U.N.’s Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and the executive director of the U.N. Counter-Terrorism Center from July 2012 until July 2016.

Feltman was a U.S. foreign service officer for over 26 years, focusing largely on the Middle East and North Africa. Feltman was the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from 2009 until his retirement from the State Department, with the rank of career minister, in May 2012. Before his 2004-08 tenure as U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, Feltman also served in Erbil, Baghdad, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tunis, Amman, Budapest, and Port-au-Prince.

“This appointment underscores the Administration’s commitment to lead an international diplomatic effort to address the interlinked political, security, and humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa.  Having held senior positions in both the State Department and the United Nations, Special Envoy Feltman is uniquely suited to bring decades of experience in Africa and the Middle East, in multilateral diplomacy, and in negotiation and mediation to develop and execute an integrated U.S. strategy to address these complex regional issues,” Blinken said.

“Of particular concern are the volatile situation in Ethiopia, including the conflict in Tigray; escalating tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan; and the dispute around the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.  At a moment of profound change for this strategic region, high-level U.S. engagement is vital to mitigate the risks posed by escalating conflict while providing support to once-in-a-generation opportunities for reform.”

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