Biden nominates John Godfrey as Sudan ambassador

Friday January 28 2022
USA President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with private sector CEOs in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 26, 2022. PHOTO | AFP


US President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate John Godfrey as a full-time ambassador to Sudan, ending more than two decades of under-representation at its Mission in Khartoum.

Thursday’s announcement means that a full ambassador, once approved by the Senate, will be in Khartoum for the first time in 24 years. Those years saw Khartoum largely managed by diplomats of the rank of Chargé d'Affaires whose powers were often limited.

In its statement, the White House stated that US President Joe Biden also nominated John Godfrey to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Sudan and Michael Adler as ambassador to South Sudan.

An experienced diplomat on Middle East issues, having served there before, his nomination is for Sudan since1996 when the US cut diplomatic ties with Sudan then under ousted President Omar al-Bashir whom it accused of supporting al-Qaeda and its then leader Osama bin Laden.

Godfrey is a senior diplomat who served as the Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Acting Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in the Office of Counterterrorism at the US Department of State according to his bio.

He has also been Deputy Principal Coordinator in the Office of Counterterrorism and prior to that, the Deputy Coordinator for Regional and Multilateral Affairs of the parties.


His nomination and subsequent approval could imply Washington is not going back on its improved ties with Khartoum. Under President Donald Trump, Washington lifted decades-old sanctions on Sudan after Khartoum compensated American terror victims of the August 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

But even after that, Sudan has remained in crisis, without a substantive government since last year’s October 25 coup in which Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was deposed with his government. Protesters have stayed in the streets since then, rejecting the military junta, as the international community paused the financial pledges they had made to Sudan.

The US has been among those calling for dialogue and an end to violence.

Mr Godfrey will come to Sudan currently facing a transition challenge, meant to ensure it resumes civilian leadership, rectifies its crippled economy and one which needs to convince armed groups to down their weapons.

He holds a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan. He was previously Acting Deputy Chief of Mission and Political Counselor at the US Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of State, besides other stints in Austria, Libya, Damascus, Iraq and Turkmenistan.