ADDIS ABABA, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The First China-Horn of Africa Peace, Good Governance and Development Conference concluded on Tuesday in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, with a joint call for the realization of shared regional aspirations.
The high-level regional peace and development conference brought together ministers and senior government officials of Horn of Africa (HOA) countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and Djibouti who were joined by Xue Bing, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Participants attending the two-day conference concluded their engagement, issuing a twelve-point joint statement.
The joint statement stated that participants conducted in-depth discussions on regional peace, development and governance in an atmosphere of unity, candor, pragmatism, and mutual respect.
They underscored that the HOA is the common home for people in the region and realizing regional peace, stability, development and prosperity serves the fundamental interests of all countries and meets the shared aspirations of all peoples in the region.
Noting the challenges confronting regional peace and security, the participants uphold the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security, work together to maintain peace and security in the region and build an HOA where the guns are silenced for sustainable peace, according to the joint statement.
"The parties are ready to step up high-level engagements and exchanges at all levels to enhance mutual political trust and keep improving relations among the countries in the region," the joint statement read.
They further expressed mutual willingness to demonstrate political will, take confidence-building measures, manage differences and disputes between countries of the region, and pursue peaceful settlement through dialogue and negotiation in an effort to ease the security situation in countries of the region.
They emphasized that the youth, women and girls are bearing the brunt of the current crises in the region due to gender inequalities, which hinder their participation in decision-making mechanisms and humanitarian responses. They called for the inclusion of youth, women and girls.
They further agreed to advocate for democracy and inclusive participation in politics by all nationals of countries in the region regardless of their gender, tribe or political affiliation.
The involved HOA countries reaffirmed their respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, commitment to non-interference in the other's internal affairs, and respect for countries' independent choice of development path, values and social systems.
"The parties remain committed to peaceful resolution of regional problems independently, and while supporting multilateralism, oppose unilateral sanctions as well as external interference in the internal affairs of the countries of the region," the joint statement read.
They uphold a coordinated approach to traditional and non-traditional security such as cyber security, terrorism, illegal arms and human trafficking, among others; and commit to greater cooperation in counter-terrorism in the region, and agree to jointly address extreme weather and natural disasters such as drought, flooding and locust infestation and safeguard food security of the region.
Noting that security, development and good governance challenges require a holistic approach, the parties reiterated to sustain regional integration by enhancing connectivity, strengthening cooperation in areas such as agriculture, trade, manufacturing, industry and infrastructure in order to build industrial and economic belts, create more jobs, drive growth and enhance self-driven development capacities.
They further agreed to promote exchanges and experience-sharing on good governance to increase the synergy of the development policies of the countries of the region and explore ways to settle disputes in an effort to foster a development environment for solidarity, stability and harmony.
The countries of the region further commend China for initiating the outlook on the Horn of Africa Peace, Good-governance and Development Conference, and commit to actively participate in implementing the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative.
"The region expresses its gratitude to China for providing COVID-19 vaccines, anti-COVID supplies, humanitarian assistance, locust control products and other assistance to the countries of the region," the joint statement read.
According to the joint statement, China reaffirmed its readiness to align the Belt and Road Initiative and the implementation of the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meetings with the development policies of the countries of the region.
China reaffirmed its resolve to deepen cooperation in areas such as health, illegal migration, agricultural development for poverty reduction, trade, investment, infrastructure, green development and support efforts for building a development framework featuring "Two Axes plus two Coasts" such as the Addis Ababa-Djibouti and Mombasa-Nairobi development corridors and any other similar projects that enable to achieve regional integration, according to the joint statement.
The parties further called on the international community to enhance partnership with the HOA to collaborate on the needs identified by the countries of the region for development assistance, increase accessibility and diversity of development financing and make greater contributions to Africa's independent and sustainable development.
Meanwhile, the parties called on the international community to work together towards the peaceful resolution of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. ■