7 March 2017

Ethiopia: Djibouti Expanding, Consolidating Relations

- President Guelleh to pay visit here soon

Djibouti is working to expand and consolidate its multifaceted relations with Ethiopia, the country's ambassador to Ethiopia disclosed.

Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh is expected to arrive here in mid-March on a three-day state visit.

In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Djiboutian Ambassador to Ethiopia Mohammed Idriss Farah said his country has been hugely engaged in seeking new areas of cooperation with Ethiopia while enhancing the existing ones.

"We are working together with big partners including China to build our infrastructure, not only the railway, but also the ports and airports. We are building those things to enable the country get an easy access to international market."

Recalling that Djibouti and Ethiopia have worked for economic integration over the years, the ambassador stated that President Guelleh's state visit would further bolster the efforts by outlining new areas of cooperation.

He said: "Among other things, the president's visit aimed at reaching agreement on merging the two countries customs, immigration and transport services at single border post to enhance a speedy exchange of people and goods."

Noting the over 2,000 vehicles that cross the Ethio-Djibouti border on a daily basis, Ambassador Farah indicated that the agreement would have a pivotal role in cutting time and cost.

Farah added that the two countries have played an examplairy role in materializing AU's vison of economic integration--a lesson which other African countries may draw. "The move can be equated with the cooperation between France and Germany that had driven the creation of European Economic Community," he stated.

The Ethio-Djibouti Joint Commission has been playing a crucial role in outlining the cooperation framework between the two countries, the ambassador noted.

Concerning regional peace and stability, Ambassador Farah said that the two countries shared common view to bring peace and stability in Somalia as well as South Sudan and are working to this end.

The ambassador said: "We are working together with Ethiopian armed forces in Somalia to fight Al-Shabaab and building the capacity of Somalia's army. Djibouti also applauded the role Ethiopia has played to support South Sudanese peace process and shelter the country's huge number of refugees."

Djiboutian intelligence wing is also partnering with its Ethiopian counterpart to deter the movement of Al-Qaeda and other militant groups that aims at destabilizing Ethiopia, he added.

Concerning investment, the ambassador said Djibouti treats Ethiopian business people with the same privileges Djiboutian enjoy in doing business. He also called on Ethiopian investors to seize the opportunity.

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