After more than a year and a half working to find a path to lasting peace and economic prosperity in Africa's Great Lakes region, U.S. Special Envoy Russell Feingold is stepping down.
Named to the post in July 2013, Mr. Feingold previously spent 18 years as a member of the U.S. Senate, representing the state of Wisconsin. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he took a great interest in African affairs, preparing him for helping deal with issues troubling the nations of Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Many of these crises remain, and the United States is committed to continuing to devote sustained, high-level attention to the Great Lakes region. Important elections will be held in Burundi and the D.R.C. The rebel movement FDLR continues to threaten Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. So the stability of the Great Lakes region remains a priority of U.S. foreign policy, and a new U.S. Special Envoy will be named to continue Mr. Feingold’s work.
During his service he helped lead the international envoys’ participation in the Kampala Talks and their contribution to the resolution of the M23 rebellion. He helped drive the international community’s renewed focus and commitment to ending the threat of the FDLR, which has produced an international and regional consensus that now is the time for the DRC and the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC to neutralize the threat of this group.
He also fostered, improved, and expanded U.S. relations with Angola, which included a trip by the Secretary of State there last May. And he launched the Great Lakes to Great Lakes initiative, bringing together regional and international experts, academics, and government officials to discuss environmental concerns, ecoterrorism and preservation of African Great Lakes.
These and other efforts demonstrate our nation’s continued commitment to stand with the peoples of the Great Lakes Region as they work to stabilize and advance their nations.