The first-ever China-Horn of Africa peace, governance, and Development conference kicked off in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Abeba today. According to Walta Information Center The conference is the first of its kind after China appointed veteran diplomat Xue Bing as its special envoy for the Horn of Africa. Representatives of horn African countries and China are participating in the two-day conference. The two-day “China-Horn of Africa Conference on Security, Governance and Development“ ended on Tuesday.
China wants to play a “more important role” in promoting peace and security in the Horn of Africa, Beijing’s special envoy has said, but added that the conference did not discuss any specific conflict in the region. However, according a senior Djiboutian official China plays a constructive role toward the peaceful development and stability of countries in the Horn of Africa. Mohamed Ali Hassan, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Djibouti, said on Monday:
“China has always played a constructive role in our region and shares stable and dynamic bilateral relations with each and every country that we represent.
“Djibouti appreciates the role of China in its endeavor to support countries in the HOA to find lasting peace and development.”
The First China-Horn of Africa Peace, Good Governance and Development Conference is “a timely and important initiative” to achieve genuine stability and socioeconomic development in the region, Hassan said, reiterating Djibouti’s “full support” to the realization of the major aspirations of the regional peace and development conference. he said:
“We are at a stage of a process, which will certainly lead us in the near future to achieve a complete and comprehensive framework with a series of actions for the achievement of our common goals for peace and development in our region.”
Hassan told ministers and senior officials of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda attending the June 20-21 high-level regional gathering:
“We are all committed and eager to go the extra mile for peace and development of our region, and there is absolutely no doubt about that.
“The HOA countries to adopt a different and effective approach to joint engagements, and come up with a clear and comprehensive strategy toward achieving regional stability and socio-economic development.
“It is paramount that we strive for good and peaceful relations between our countries, because we are all addressing interrelated challenges.”
Hassan said the regional peace and development conference will serve as a platform to “have enthusiastic discussions” toward the betterment of the region through collaboration and partnership among countries in the region.
Ethiopia hosted the First China-Horn of Africa Peace, Good Governance and Development Conference, which was joined by Xue Bing, special envoy for Horn of Africa affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Earlier this year, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said when visiting Kenya that China stands ready to propose the “Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa” to support regional countries in addressing security, development and governance challenges.
The proposal, which received positive responses from countries in the region since its introduction, came after Wang visited Ethiopia in early December last year and Eritrea in early January before his trip to Kenya.
The event signals the Asian superpower’s push to gain influence in a region beset by conflict and security issues. Xue Bing, Beijing’s first special envoy to the region, told reporters: “We did not discuss a specific conflict (or) dispute.” The conference was aimed at exploring how China could play a more important role in the region, he said, “not only in trade and investments but also in area of peace and development”.