Africa: China to Hold Its First Peace Conference in Africa This Year

Nairobi — China is set to hold the first peace conference in the Horn of Africa, as part of its efforts to enhance security.

China’s newly appointed envoy to the Horn of Africa, Xue Bing said Ethiopia had agreed to host the conference aimed at bringing regional countries together in addressing insecurity and instability that continues to plague parts of the region.

The Chinese envoy said that the move aims to give African countries an opportunity to independently resolve their issues without external interference from Western powers.

He stated that some countries that he had visited including Kenya, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia had asked China to play a more active role on matters of peace and security apart from socio-economic development.

“They said China should do more, and China has the ability to do more in this area. This area has long suffered the external relations from Western Countries. Some of the countries are just fed up with the foreign interventions and preachings from the Western countries,” Ambassador Xue told a news conference at the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi.

He added that the Horn of Africa region is home to countries that have long-standing traditional relations with China.

He said the region is strategically located and has the huge potential of development due its abundant resources.

Amb. Xue said that the appointment of the Horn of Africa envoy for the first time by the Chinese government symbolizes the strategic importance of the area.

Amb. Xue is touring seven countries during the period of the trip pointing out that after Kenya, he will visit Uganda and South Sudan.

He further said that each country has a right to make their own decisions on important issues affecting them pointing out that he had received positive feedback in regards to China’s proposal on peace.

“My first priority here is to seek more comments and suggestions about China’s proposal and I encourage the regional countries to come together very quickly for the first peace conference,” he said.

In regards to the economic and socio-development cooperation, Xue stated that China’s relations with Africa have continued to develop at a faster pace.

Xue pointed out that the most important component of China’s three-pillar proposal is development.

Other components of the proposal include security and governance.

He added that to address the issue of terrorism that is affecting the region, its route cause must be examined and addressed.

He singled out poverty and poor governance as some of the root causes driving terrorism in the region.

“I think if you enjoy security, development and good governance, I think we will get rid of terrorism,” Xue said.

The China’s envoy to the Horn of Africa dismissed the claims that his appointment was aimed at countering geo-political influence of the West pointing out President Xi Jinping’s intention is to provide platform for local countries to resolve their differences through peaceful negotiations.

On Friday, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Amb. Macharia Kamau on held talks with Xue as he commenced his inaugural visit to the region.

Amb. Kamau commended China for making the appointment following an undertaking by the country’s Foreign Minister, Amb. Wang Yi, during a visit to Kenyan in January.

“The Principal Secretary welcomed China’s move to appoint a special envoy to the horn of Africa noting the initiative is timely as it will add impetus to the efforts by various partners to find lasting solutions to the peace and security threats in the horn of Africa region,” the Foreign Office said in a note following the talks.

Xue is also set to hold talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 21 and also meet Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Raychelle Omamo.

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