It is a pleasure to welcome Ambassador Godec once again before the Committee, in this case as the President’s nominee to be Ambassador to Kenya. His stewardship as Chargé over the last several months comes at a very challenging time for our large and important East Africa embassy. He has brought deft and experienced management to Nairobi and effectively sustained our varied interests and priorities with Kenyans and the Kenyan government at a critical time. Among the most important interests is United States support for a free and fair electoral process leading up to national elections in 2013, the first since the abhorrent violence that followed the 2007 elections.
United States interests extend broadly in East Africa and recognize the commitment Kenya has made in Somalia under the AMISOM umbrella, as well as its long support for regional peace initiatives. Kenya also has been a key counter-terrorism partner in a variety of areas that are of mutual concern with broad global potential for impact. These include Kenyan efforts fighting Al Shabab and building its own counter-terror capabilities in maritime and border security. Our extensive cooperation extends to providing a regional platform for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Center for Disease Control in securing biological materials that pose a threat to millions if Continue reading
[Update April 16: The Gration nomination was approved on voice vote by the Committee, vote by full Senate to be scheduled.]
[Update April 6: The National Journal reported on the hearings which generated relatively little coverage. The story notes the strong opposition to Gration from Sudan activists but concludes that he is expected to be confirmed, with support from Committee Chairman Kerry (as well as the President) and with no indication of opposition from the Republican side either. There is probably just too much other news out of Ivory Coast and Libya, along with Sudan itself, for these hearings on the appointments for Kenya and Botswana to get much mainstream media coverage.]
Confirmation hearings for Scott Gration for Ambassador to Kenya and Michelle Gavin (recently Africa director for the National Security Council) for Ambassador to Botswana begin at 2:30pm Washington time.
See Diplopundit for counter-Gration advocacy from Save Darfur and related Sudan activists who are unhappy enough with Gration as Special Envoy on Sudan to work against his Kenya nomination. Staying away from domestic politics, and not being a Sudan expert myself, I won’t weigh in other than to say that the Kenya/Somalia job seems much different than the Sudan envoy job. And to point out that the post in Nairobi has been waiting for him for a long time and that he has loyalty from President Obama as discussed in previous posts.