China set to appoint special envoy for ‘Horn of Africa’

China set to appoint special envoy for Horn of Africa

China is set to appoint a special envoy for the Horn of Africa.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced this in Kenya on Thursday, signaling his country’s willingness to engage diplomatically in this conflict-ridden region.

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China wants to encourage dialogue in the face of peace and security challenges, according to the Chinese foreign minister, who began an African tour of Eritrea, Kenya, and the Comoros on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Wang’s visit closely follows that of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in November, a trip intended in part to counter China’s growing influence in Africa.

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His announcement comes as the United States’ special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, is set to arrive in Ethiopia on Thursday. Ethiopia has been shaken for more than a year by a war between the federal army and Tigray rebels.

Mr. Feltman, whose resignation is expected in the near future, will try once more to bring the belligerents to the negotiating table, according to the State Department, amid a lull in the fighting.

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Ethiopian rebels, who had been closing in on Addis Ababa just a few weeks ago, withdrew to their stronghold in Tigray at the end of December, and the federal army said it would not pursue them there.

Without naming a country, the Chinese foreign minister ruled that the conflicts in the Horn of Africa hamper “the enormous development potential” of the region and that “such a situation should not continue”.

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He also urged the countries of the Horn of Africa to “resolve various ethnic, religious and regional differences in an African way”.

 

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