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China Announces New Post of Special Envoy to Horn of Africa as US Assigns New Diplomat to Region

© XinhuaChinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.01.2022
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced on Thursday during a visit to several Horn of Africa nations that the foreign ministry would create a new special liaison to the region, where the US is struggling to maintain its former influence.
Speaking Thursday in Mombasa, Kenya, Wang said the two nations are "partners for peace in the region” and would continue to coordinate at the United Nations Security Council and in other venues to increase that role.
Later, during a meeting with Kenya's Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Raychelle Omano, Wang announced he would appoint a special envoy to the Horn of Africa to further those goals.
"I believe that this is what we need,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta replied. “Kenya-Africa does not need lectures, Kenya-Africa needs friends willing to work with us to achieve our goals and our aspirations.”
Wang’s visit to Kenya came after a two-day stop in Eritrea, after which the two foreign ministries declared a new Strategic Partnership, and China reaffirmed its support for Eritrea against unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States.
“Regional countries know best the problems within the region and it's up to the people of a country to properly handle its internal affairs,” Wang said in Asmara. He made similar comments a month prior while in Addis Ababa, where Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has been sanctioned by Washington for the same reason as Eritrea: fighting an armed uprising by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the former longtime rulers of Ethiopia who had fought a disastrous war against Eritrea while in power.
Wang’s visit and announcement of the new envoy also come as the US is putting heavy pressure on Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmaajo, for having suspended his prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, following accusations Roble had interfered in a corruption probe against himself. The US said Farmaajo was attempting to subvert the democratic process Roble has been overseeing.
In another nearby country, Sudan, the US is hoping to influence an ongoing mass protest movement against a military regime that enjoys Saudi, Emirati and Israeli support. Across the Red Sea, the US continues to support the Saudi-led war in Yemen that has claimed almost 400,000 lives. The coalition is fighting the rebel Houthi movement, which it claims is a proxy force supported by Iran, although both the Houthis and Iranians reject the claim.
Earlier this week, the US’ own special envoy to the Horn, Jeffrey Feldman, resigned after months of failing to either end the war in Ethiopia or get Abiy removed from power. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also announced on Thursday that David Satterfield, the outgoing US ambassador to Turkey, would take Feltman’s place in the Horn.
Satterfield has long represented US interests in the Middle East, including as ambassador to Lebanon from 1998 until 2001 and serving several roles under the George W. Bush administration, including Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs, Deputy Chief of Mission with rank of Ambassador in Iraq during the US’ occupation war, and as Coordinator for Iraq and Senior Adviser to Secretary of State when Condoleeza Rice headed the department.
He also became Chief of Mission at the US embassy in Cairo in August 2013, after the US-trained Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overthrew the country’s first democratically elected president and seized power.
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