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US to remove post of special envoy for Sudans

The U.S State Department says it plans to abolish the position of its Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan and its functions and staff assumed by the Bureau of African Affairs.

The department says it also plans to remove titles and functions for special representatives, special advisors, and coordinators for various countries.

In a letter addressed to Bob Corker, the Chairman for Committee on Foreign Relations at the United States Senate, the State Department says the measures will make the Department and USAID better equipped to address the foreign policy challenges of the United States.

The U.S Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, says the move will also improve the ability of the U.S. Department of State and USAID to achieve critical foreign policy goals that are currently the responsibility of special envoys or special representatives.

He says the position of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, which was previously occupied by Donald Booth, shall be scrubbed off.

Tillerson also requested Congress to repeal the statutory provision for the position of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.

He says a Deputy Assistant Secretary in African Affair already fulfills the responsibilities.

Mr. Tillerson further says 6 positions associated with the special envoy status will be realigned, including reallocation of over 4.4 million U.S dollars in support costs within Diplomatic and Consular Programs from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of African Affairs.

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 South Sudan by supporting the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict, calling on parties to adhere to the permanent cease-fire, and supporting efforts to ensure development, justice, and reconciliation.

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

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

Donald Booth left office in January this year at the end of the Obama administration.

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

According to Rex Tillerson, if an issue requires a high-level interaction with senior foreign officials, a senior official whom authority is delegated shall conduct such diplomacy.

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