Secretary of State Antony Blinken has named former envoy to the DRC Ambassador Mike Hammer as US. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa.
Hammer will succeed Ambassador David Satterfield, who resigned just three months after his appointment in January. Deputy Special Envoy Payton Knopf took over the role on an interim basis.
“ I am announcing that I am grateful to Ambassador Satterfield for the experience and determination he brought to the role, and I look forward to the energy and vision that Ambassador Hammer will now lend to our efforts in the Horn of Africa,” Blinken said in a statement on Tuesday.
He said Hammer’s appointment underscores America’s abiding commitment to diplomatic efforts in the region, most urgently in support of an inclusive political process towards peace, common security, and prosperity for all people in Ethiopia.
“This Administration remains firmly focused on a cessation of hostilities, unhindered humanitarian access, transparent investigations into violations and human rights abuses by all actors, and a negotiated resolution to the conflict,” he added.
Satterfield replaced veteran US diplomat Jeffrey Feltman, who served in the position for less than a year.
He unsuccessfully tried to negotiate an agreement between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front forces to end the conflict that began in November 2020 and has since exploded into a civil war that has forced at least two million people from their homes.
PROFILE by US Embassy DRC
Hammer was confirmed as the US ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on September 6, 2018.
He had been serving as the Acting Senior Vice President of the National Defense University and previously served as the Deputy Commandant of NDU’s Eisenhower School. He additionally dual-hatted as the Vice Chancellor of the College of International Security Affairs.
Ambassador Hammer is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service class of Minister-Counselor. He most recently served as U.S. ambassador to Chile from 2014-2016. He began his diplomatic career in 1988. Prior to his appointment in Chile, Ambassador Hammer served as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs from March 2012 to August 2013. He also served as Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.
Before joining the Bureau of Public Affairs, Ambassador Hammer served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President, Senior Director for Press and Communications, and National Security Council Spokesman from January 2009 to January 2011. He previously served at the National Security Council as Deputy Spokesman from 1999 to 2000 and as the Director of Andean Affairs from 2000 to 2001.
Ambassador Hammer’s overseas postings include Bolivia, Norway, Iceland, and Denmark.