U.S. President Barack appointed another senior U.S. diplomat to work alongside Scott Gration, U.S. Special Envoy for peace in Sudan. Ambassador Dane Smith, a veteran diplomat, will head the Darfur file for the US Government.Gration told a news conference in Khartoum on Monday that his country remained concerned about the situation in Darfur. He introduced Ambassador Dane Smith as an official with “three decades of Foreign Service experience to this job, including a tour as the deputy chief of mission right here in Khartoum.” According to Gration, Smith will “play a vital role in our diplomatic efforts concerning Darfur, as well as to help us implement our initiatives and programs in the field.”
Although the US Special Envoy remains in his position, there are unconfirmed reports of his impending dismissal. His mandate now overlaps with that of several new senior appointees — including Ambassador Dane Smith (Darfur), Ambassador Princeton Lyman (north-south negotiations), Ambassador Barrie Walkley (Juba consulate), and Mr. Allan Reed (USAID) — as well as that of several incumbent appointees including Ambassador Johnnie Carson (Assistant Secretary for African Affairs) and Charge d’Affaires Robert Whitehead (Khartoum embassy).
Commenting on the appointment of Ambassador Smith, Omer Gamreldin Ismail, an activist in the United States, welcomed the appointment of the diplomat. In an interview aired on Radio Dabanga, he expressed the hope that he would contribute to stopping the violence, delivery of relief, and resolution of the crisis in Darfur.