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China, US up stakes in troubled Horn with special envoys

08 January 2022, The EastAfrican
China, US up stakes in troubled Horn with special envoys

China has upped the stakes in the Horn of Africa conflict after announcing it will name a special envoy for the region, an indication of Beijing’s concern for the security situation in regions it is heavily invested in.

This comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken named former ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield the new US envoy for the Horn of Africa to replace Jeffrey Feltman, who has unsuccessfully tried to mediate the conflict in Ethiopia and the crisis in Sudan.

“The ongoing instability in the Horn of Africa and the region’s interlinked political, security and humanitarian challenges demand sustained focus by the United States. Ambassador Satterfield’s decades of diplomatic experience and work amidst some of the world’s most challenging conflicts will be instrumental in our continued effort to promote a peaceful and prosperous Horn of Africa and to advance US interests in this strategic region,” Mr Blinken said.

Beijing’s entry into the Horn of Africa politics is expected to unsettle Washington, which has for the past year been actively involved in trying to diffuse the escalating conflict in Ethiopia and the political turmoil in Sudan. President Joe Biden has been keen on the affairs of the region, roping in Kenya as a preferred mediator, with little success.
Seeking lasting peace

The US last April named Mr Feltman as Special Envoy for the Horn, but his five visits to the region in the past one year have yielded little as Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia all face continual crises.
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