Foreign relations of Djibouti

Foreign relations of Djibouti

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Foreign relations with the government of Djibouti are maintained by the Djiboutian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Links with Arab states and East Asian states, Japan and People's Republic of China in particular, are welcome.

Djibouti is greatly affected by events in Somalia and Ethiopia, and therefore relations are important and, at times, very delicate. The fall of the Siad Barre and Mengistu governments in Somalia and Ethiopia, respectively, in 1991, caused Djibouti to face national security threats due to the instability in the neighboring states and a massive influx of refugees estimated at 100,000 from Somalia and Ethiopia.


Bilateral relations

People's Republic of China


With the Eritrean-Ethiopian War (1998–2000), Ethiopia channeled most of its trade through Djibouti. Though Djibouti is nominally neutral, it broke off relations with Eritrea in November 1998, renewing relations in 2000. Eritrea's President Isaias visited Djibouti in early 2001 and President Ismail Omar Guelleh made a reciprocal visit to Asmara in the early summer of 2001. While Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh has close ties with Ethiopia’s ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), he has tried to maintain an even hand, developing relations with Eritrea. On June 10, 2008 clashes broke out in the Ras Doumeira region between Djibouti and Eritrea.


Diplomatic relations between the two countries was established in 1984.[1] Relations between the country are generally good. Both countries share ownership of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railroad; however, this utility is in need of repairs and upgraded capacity. The railroad is tied to the Port of Djibouti, which provides port facilities and trade ties to landlocked Ethiopia. Disputes between the Afar and Issa people of Djibouti have the potential of involving Ethiopian citizens of these groups.

  • The border between the two countries is based on the Franco-Ethiopian convention of 20 March 1897. A protocol signed by France and Ethiopia on 16 January 1954, stated that the demarcation of the boundary between the colony of Dibouti and Ethiopia as considered final, which became effective 28 February of that year. With the independence of Djibouti, there have been no significant issues over this border.[2]
  • Djibouti President Hassan Gouled Aptidon paid an official visit to Ethiopia in October 1991, when a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation was signed between the two countries. Since 1991, the two countries have signed over 39 protocols agreements.[1]


Djibouti's military and economic agreements with France provide continued security and economic assistance. Djibouti has been the host country for French military units since independence.


Somalia has in the past claimed the areas of Djibouti inhabited by Somalis as part of the Greater Somalia idea. In 1991 and 2000, Djibouti played a key role in the search for peace in Somalia by hosting Somali Reconciliation Conferences. In the summer of 2000, Djibouti hosted the Arta Conference which brought together various Somali clans and warlords. Djibouti's efforts to promote reconciliation in Somalia led to the establishment of the Transitional National Government (TNG) in Somalia. Djibouti hopes the TNG can form the basis for bringing peace and stability to Somalia.

United States

The U.S. and Djibouti have forged strong ties in recent years. Foreign Aid from the U.S. plays the lead role in Djibouti's economy. In 2002, United States units began operations from Djibouti with the aim of countering the possible threat of Islamic terrorism in the Horn of Africa.

In April 1977, the United States established a Consulate General in Djibouti and upon independence in June 1977 raised the status of its mission to an embassy. The first U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti arrived in October 1980. Over the past decade, the United States has been a principal provider of humanitarian assistance for famine relief, and has sponsored health care, education, good governance, and security assistance programs.

Djibouti has allowed the U.S. military, as well as other nations, access to its port and airport facilities. The Djiboutian Government has been very supportive of U.S. and Western interests, particularly during the Gulf crisis of 1990-91 and after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2002, Djibouti agreed to host a U.S. military presence at Camp Lemonnier, a former French Foreign Legion base outside the capital that now houses approximately 1,800 American personnel. U.S. service members provide humanitarian support and development and security assistance to people and governments of the Horn of Africa and Yemen. As a victim of past international terrorist attacks, President Guelleh continues to take a very proactive position against terrorism.

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State (Background Notes).[1]

International organizations

In 2000, after 3 years of insufficient rain, 50,000 drought victims entered Djibouti. In 1996 a revitalized organization of seven East African states, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), established its secretariat in Djibouti. IGAD’s mandate is for regional cooperation and economic integration.

Djibouti is a member of La Francophonie (since 1977), the Arab League, as well as the Organization of African Unity (OAU), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). After the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Djibouti joined the Global War on Terror, and now hosts a large military camp, home to soldiers from many countries, but primarily the U.S.

Djibouti is also a member of the International Criminal Court with a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the US-military (as covered under Article 98).

See also


  1. ^ a b "Ethiopia - Djibouti relations", Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (accessed 9 October 2009)
  2. ^ "Djibouti – Ethiopia Boundary", U.S. Department of State, International Boundary Study No. 154 – February 20, 1976

External links

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