Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - China's special envoy to the Horn of Africa, Xue Bing, has said Beijing is ready to help the region's countries find peace and get rid of what he called external interference. Xue made the comments at China and the Horn of Africa's first Peace, Governance and Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
With six Horn of Africa countries represented at the meeting, Xue noted that regional turbulence and division are on the rise, and that the Cold War mentality and power politics had resurfaced, while peace and development were being met with resistance.
Even though China has been a longtime trade partner in Africa, this is the first time it appears to have intervened in the politics of African countries - a change in policy for China.
Xue said early this year, China's outlook on peace and development for the Horn of Africa focused on the region's reality and its past experience, and was aimed at helping countries in the region to get rid of external interference.
"China will continue to support countries in the region to uphold the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security," he said. "To protect regional peace and security, and silence the guns in the Horn of Africa."
Ambassador Redwan Hussein, national security adviser to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, noted that countries in the Horn need to employ different approaches to solve the challenges of poverty, drought, illegal immigration and refugees, terrorism, climate change, internal displacements and the consequences of war.
"The nexus between peace and security is too obvious to be elaborated here," he said. "Making the region free from the burden of war and conflict, and ensuring peace and security, remain the priority of all parties. The people of the region have suffered enough, and it's incumbent upon us to resort to a civilized, mature way of addressing our difficulties and differences."
China stressed that it has all along been convinced that countries in the Horn have the critical resolution to seek strength through solidarity and a political wisdom to resolve differences through dialogue and consultation.