Africa

New U.S. Horn of Africa envoy to visit Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Ethiopia

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Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, David Satterfield, prepares ahead of his address to the 11th Annual International Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) Conference in Tel Aviv, Israel January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

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LOS ANGELES, Jan 14 (Reuters) - The new U.S. envoy to the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, and Assistant Secretary Molly Phee will visit Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Ethiopia next week, the State Department said on Friday, calling on Addis Ababa to help end conflict in the country.

"They will encourage government officials to seize the current opening for peace by ending the air strikes and other hostilities ... and laying the foundation for an inclusive national dialogue," it said in a statement.

On Friday, the United Nations human rights office expressed alarm at "multiple, deeply disturbing reports" of air strikes in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, saying at least 108 civilians had been killed this year.

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Satterfield and Phee, whose is responsible for African affairs, will visit the three nations between Monday and Thursday, the State Department said.

In the Saudi capital Riyadh, they will back a "civilian-led transition to democracy" for Sudan and in the country's capital Khartoum will meet pro-democracy activists as well as military and political leaders among others.

Huge crowds have regularly taken to the streets in Sudan demanding a return to civilian rule since an Oct. 25 coup ended a power-sharing arrangement that began in 2019.

"Their message will be clear: the United States is committed to freedom, peace and justice for the Sudanese people," the statement said.

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Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by William Mallard

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