By Abdul-Jabbar Aburas
ANKARA (AA) – Senior US diplomats are set to visit Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Ethiopia next week, according to the US Department of State.
The three-leg tour by Assistant Secretary Molly Phee and newly appointed Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa David Satterfield will take place between Jan. 17 to 20.
“While in Riyadh, Assistant Secretary Phee and Special Envoy Satterfield will attend a meeting of the Friends of Sudan, intended to marshal international support for the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission to Sudan (UNITAMS) in its efforts to facilitate a renewed civilian-led transition to democracy,” the statement read.
The Friends of Sudan group comprises France, Germany, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the US, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, European Union, United Nations.
The diplomats’ visit to Riyadh will be followed by another to Khartoum to “meet with pro-democracy activists, women and youth groups, civil society, military leaders, and political figures” to reiterate US commitment “to freedom, peace, and justice for the Sudanese people,” the statement said.
Ethiopia will be the diplomats’ final stop where the duo will “follow up on US President Biden’s constructive phone call with Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy on January 10.”
The aim of the visit is to “encourage government officials to seize the current opening for peace by ending the airstrikes and other hostilities, negotiating a ceasefire, releasing all political prisoners, restoring sustained humanitarian access, and laying the foundation for an inclusive national dialogue.”
During a telephone call on Monday, Biden raised concerns with Abiy over Ethiopia's continued airstrikes in the country's northern Tigray region while expressing US commitment to a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the country.
*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar