WASHINGTON – U.S. Ambassador Mike Hammer will serve as the new U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Wednesday, taking up the position at a time of persistent political turmoil in the region.
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 toward peace, common security, and prosperity for all people in Ethiopia,” Blinken said.
Hammer is the U.S. ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a position to which he was confirmed in 2018, according to the embassy, and previously served as U.S. ambassador to Chile. He has held various other roles at the State Department and the White House.
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.