The White House announced yesterday what has been expected for several months: its special envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration, is moving on to become U.S. ambassador to Kenya.
The announcement comes at a crucial moment in Sudan, where despite the successful referendum for South Sudan, many urgent priorities persist. Critical North-South negotiations need to be addressed on a tight timeline, the situation in Darfur is deteriorating, and the need to pave the way for good governance in the future independent countries is acute – all of which will require high-level international engagement.
It is important during this period of transition that the U.S. ensures that there is strong coordination between the two high-ranking officials dispatched to address North-South negotiations (Ambassador Princeton Lyman) and the Darfur peace process (Ambassador Dane Smith) to ensure that neither process can be used to undermine the other, as they have in the past.
Enough Co-Founder John Prendergast argues, "It is crucial that the president and senior administration officials remain deeply engaged, deploy staff to both processes to work full-time and on-location until peace is achieved in both Darfur and southern Sudan, and name an official quickly who can ensure strong coordination between the two parallel efforts."
Photo: U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan General Scott Gration (M. Goldberg)