U.S. Ambassador Mike Hammer will serve as the new U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Wednesday.
Blinken said the previous envoy, David Satterfield, was preparing to leave his post but did not give a date. Sources earlier told Reuters he would step down before summer.
Hammer will have to contend with multiple crises in the region, including conflict in Ethiopia that has sparked accusations of atrocities on both sides, and economic and political turmoil in Sudan following an October coup.
“His appointment underscores our abiding commitment to diplomatic efforts in the region, most urgently in support of an inclusive political process towards peace, common security, and prosperity for all people in Ethiopia,” Blinken said.
Satterfield, a long-time career diplomat with decades of experience, had replaced Jeffrey Feltman, another veteran U.S. diplomat who had stepped down at the end of last year after about nine months in the job. Feltman continues to serve in an advisory capacity.
The frequent change of personnel has raised questions about the Biden administration’s commitment to the region, particularly at a time when it is grappling with pressing foreign policy crises elsewhere, primarily the Russian invasion of Ukraine.