Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that he has appointed two diplomats to lead efforts to address the anomalous health incidents known as Havana Syndrome that have affected diplomats, their families and other federal employees.
The Friday announcement comes almost two months after the last person who held the coordinating post left the department, which led lawmakers and diplomats to express concerns about how much effort the department was putting into tackling the problem.
Jonathan Moore will serve as the new head of the State Department’s health Incident Response taskforce, Blinken announced Friday. He also said that Ambassador Margaret Uyehara, a career foreign service office with three decades of experience, will serve as senior care coordinator for those affected by the mysterious attacks.
“Jonathan brings decades of experience who are grappling with complex policy challenges,” Blinen said, mentioning Moore’s postings “around the globe from Bosnia to Libya” and his work on portfolios ranging from Russia policy to engagement with the United Nations.
Uyehara has “already gotten to work advocating for those affected, including assisting them with workers compensation and the benefits process,” Blinkens said. “She’s compassionate, she’s effective. We’re grateful for her and her commitment to this vital issue.”
Blinken also announced a new partnership with Johns Hopkins University to get medical assistance to the diplomats and their family members impacted.
“If we want the State Department to be as strong as it can be, and the most effective advocate for our interests and values around the world we have to take care of the people who serve here,” Blinken said.
The US government has not determined what or who is causing these incidents. Blinken, who recently met with some diplomats affected by the mysterious illness, said that getting to the bottom of the incidents this an “urgent priority” for the Biden administration and the entire US government.
“You cannot help but be personally affected when you hear directly from our folks,” Blinken said.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
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