(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State John Kerry announced Tuesday that former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., will be the Obama administration’s new special envoy to deal with conflict-ridden Central Africa, which covers the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and the rebel groups of M23 (operates in Democratic Republic of Congo) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (Uganda and South Sudan).
Feingold was pleased to accept the appointment. He was very active concerning African issues during his years in the Senate, serving as chair of the Africa sub-committee on the Senate Foreign Relations committee.
“It is an honor to join my friend, Secretary of State John Kerry, at the Department of State to focus on an important region of the world we both care about so deeply. Secretary Kerry and I worked well together for 18 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and I am so pleased to continue that productive working relationship,” Feingold said Tuesday.
“It is a great responsibility to take on the role of United States Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, as the people in the region have arrived at a time of significant opportunity for peace. The appointment of Mary Robinson as the UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, and the signing of the February 2013 Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, have brought a renewed focus to the causes of instability in the region, and created an historic opportunity for this important, but challenged, region of Africa,” he added.
Kerry is made the announcement about Feingold’s appointment Tuesday as a sign of how seriously the Obama administration continues to take the ongoing conflict in Africa, which is responsible for the deaths of over 5 million people since 1998.
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Sugam Pokharel and AJ Willingham, CNN
Ivana Kottasova, CNN