Veteran U.S. diplomat Jeffrey Feltman was named a special envoy for the Horn of Africa on Friday, as Washington looks to step up diplomatic efforts in a region hit by the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray and other crises.
Feltman also will lead international efforts to address tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan and around the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Fighting in Tigray, between rebels and government forces from both Ethiopia and its neighbor Eritrea, has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands more from their homes in the region of about 5 million.
After serving in senior roles at the State Department, Feltman was U.N. political affairs chief from 2012 to 2018, a job that helps form U.N. policy and oversees U.N. mediation efforts.
Feltman visited North Korea in 2017, the highest-level U.N. official to visit since 2011, describing his four-day trip as “the most important mission I have ever undertaken.”
Before working at the United Nations, he was assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs during the Obama administration and before that served as U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority’s office in the Irbil province of Iraq and as a senior official at the U.S. consulate general in Jerusalem.