30 August 2017

Sudan: U.S. Scraps Post of Special Envoy to Juba and Khartoum

Photo: Gage Skidmore /Wikipedia
Donald Trump speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (file photo).

The US has scrapped the position of its special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a statement posted on the official website Tuesday, said the move was meant to improve the ability of the Department of State and USAid to achieve critical foreign policy goals that were currently the responsibility of special envoys.

Mr Tillerson requested the Congress to repeal the statutory provision for the position of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, saying the Deputy Assistant Secretary in African Affairs could handle all the responsibilities.

As per the changes proposed by the State Department, a special envoy or representative shall no longer be required to handle South Sudan and Sudan docket, the statement explained.

Was killed

The Secretary of State said a senior official shall conduct the diplomacy if an issue arose requiring a high-level interaction.

The pronouncement comes just days after a US journalist, Mr Christopher Allen, was killed while covering clashes between rebels and government forces in South Sudan's Kaya town last Saturday.

It remains unclear whether the US action was prompted by the killing of Mr Allen.

Disputed region

According to the State Department, the position of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan was created to push for an end to the crisis in the latter, by supporting the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict, calling on parties to adhere to the permanent ceasefire and supporting efforts to ensure development, justice, and reconciliation.

It was also established to press for an end to the internal conflict in Sudan's Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, as part of a holistic solution to the country's human rights, humanitarian, and governance crises.

President Barack Obama appointed Mr Donald Booth in 2013 to also urge Sudan and South Sudan to resolve the outstanding issues, including the status of the disputed region of Abyei.

Mr Booth left office last January at the end of the Obama administration.

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