Chinese special envoy for the Horn of Africa to visit Kenya

By AGGREY MUTAMBO

Chinese Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Xue Bing is expected in Nairobi on Friday on his first trip to Kenya since taking up the post in January.

A tentative programme showed Mr Xue will be in the country at the weekend and will hold talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta and later with Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo.

He is expected to be in the country until Monday next week.

“The Special Envoy will also meet the Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amb Macharia Kamau on Friday 18th March and thereafter engage and consult other stakeholders and practitioners of peace and security,” said a dispatch from Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Chinese Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Xue Bing with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.

Chinese Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Xue Bing with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki. PHOTO | COURTESY | ERITREAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Mr Xue was appointed in January, just days after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced on his tour of Kenya that Beijing was appointing a special envoy as China’s helps to foster peace and security in the region.

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His responsibilities include gathering information from stakeholders and working jointly with Horn of Africa countries to convene and deliberate on the nexus between peace, stability and development, according to China’s statement earlier in January.

“The new envoy arrives in Kenya to build on existing initiatives and efforts towards finding solutions to the challenges facing the region, including conflict and displacements, and climate variances that need humanitarian assistance,” the Kenyan ministry said.

Mr Xue is a former diplomat at the Chinese embassy in Kenya and has served in various other ranks across the world. His most recent station was Papua New Guinea where he served as ambassador until last year.

Mr Xue’s appointment means the Horn of Africa now has a growing list of special envoys.

The UN has Hannah Teteh, the Under Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary General to the African Union; the African Union has Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo; David Satterfield represents the US; while Annette Weber is the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa | Red Sea and the Horn of Africa.

Mr Satterfield was in Nairobi in February to push for peace in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where rebels and government forces have been fighting since November 2020.

Mr Xue’s Horn of Africa trip has already taken him to Eritrea where he held talks with President Isaias Afwerki.

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