China offers mediation in Horn of Africa disputes

Tigray People’s Liberation Front fighters react to people on a truck as they arrive in Mekele, the capital of the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

  • China has offered to be the mediator to resolve disputes in the Horn of Africa.
  • Ethiopia has been wracked by a conflict in the north between government forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) since November 2020, which has killed countless people and triggered a humanitarian crisis affecting millions.
  • Ethiopian Prime Minister’s national security adviser Abiy Ahmed said China was playing a “supporting role” in the region and that solutions to the various crises “should come from within”.

China on Monday offered to mediate disputes in the Horn of Africa on the opening day of a regional gathering in the Ethiopian capital.

The China-Horn of Africa Conference on Security, Governance and Development is the first of its kind and underscores Beijing’s determination to play a greater role in a region plagued by conflict and security challenges.

“I am ready to provide mediation for the peaceful settlement of disputes, based on the will of countries in this region,” said Xue Bing, Beijing’s first special envoy for the Horn of Africa.

He said it was important to “respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries, refrain from interfering in other countries’ internal affairs…reject the abuse of unilateral sanctions.”

“China believes that the Horn countries have…(the ability)…to resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation,” Xue said.

Redwan Hussein, national security adviser to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said China was playing a “supporting role” in the region and that solutions to the various crises “should come from within”.

Ethiopia itself has been wracked by a conflict in the north between government forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) since November 2020, which has killed countless people and triggered a humanitarian crisis affecting millions. of people.

Abiy first signaled last week that he was ready to negotiate with the TPLF, with a lull in fighting since a truce in March, while the rebels raised possible talks in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Xue was appointed to the post in February, shortly after a visit to Eritrea, Kenya and the Comoros by Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The China-Horn conference, which ends on Tuesday, brings together representatives from Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda as well as Ethiopia and China – but at the notable exception of Eritrea.

China has a military base in Djibouti, its only one in Africa, as well as a port, aimed at securing its vast economic interests in the region.

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