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Djibouti FM hails ‘excellent’ ties with neighbors -except Eritrea

Youssouf has said that his country enjoys "excellent" relations with all its neighbors – except Eritrea. Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf has said that his country enjoys "excellent" relations with all its neighbors – except

Youssouf has said that his country enjoys “excellent” relations with all its neighbors – except Eritrea.

Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf has said that his country enjoys “excellent” relations with all its neighbors – except Eritrea.
“There has been no major breakthrough with regard to relations between Djibouti and Eritrea,” Youssouf told The Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.

“Eritrea is not willing to negotiate or be part of the regional peace process,” he said.

Djibouti and neighboring Eritrea have engaged in two border conflicts. In 1996, they almost went to war after a Djiboutian official accused Eritrea of shelling the town of Ras Doumeira.

Three years later, in 1999, Eritrea accused Djibouti of siding with longstanding rival Ethiopia, while Djibouti counter-accused Eritrea of supporting rebels fighting its government.

As a result, Djibouti recalled its ambassador and broke off relations with Eritrea, which weren’t restored again until 2001.

The two countries clashed again for three days in the summer of 2008, leading to a further deterioration of ties and a U.N. embargo on Eritrea.

Since 2010, Qatar has played the role of mediator between the two antagonists.

Under Qatari mediation, Djibouti has released hundreds of Eritrean prisoners, who were handed over to the United Nations. Eritrea, however, has yet to follow suit.

“Djibouti has already handed over Eritrean prisoners of war (POWs) seized during the 2008 border conflict,” Youssouf said. “However, we have no information about Djiboutian POWs.”

“We are sad that there is no willingness on the Eritrean government’s side towards peace,” he said. “Qatar is running after Djiboutian POWs; however, there has been no change – and the same goes [for arbitration] between Ethiopia and Eritrea.”

“We want Eritrea back to IGAD [the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an East African regional bloc based in Djibouti], but the leadership in Eritrea is not helping itself,” Youssouf asserted.

Ethiopia ties

Djibouti’s top diplomat also stressed his country’s good relations with Addis Ababa.

“We are working to facilitate Ethiopian development through the expansion of infrastructure and improved port service delivery, so as to satisfy the country’s import and export needs,” he said.

“Our partnership [with Ethiopia] is based on mutual respect and understanding,” Youssouf said, adding that Djibouti and Ethiopia should be considered the “engines” of the Horn of Africa region.

“Ethiopia and Djibouti can be considered engines to the region, as they are strengthening their relations day by day,” he asserted. “Our integrity will be a model for other countries.”

As for war-torn Somalia, Youssouf said Djibouti had deployed 1,000 peacekeepers to the long-troubled state and was ready to send another 1,000 if necessary.

“We need peace in Somalia because Djibouti will not be peaceful if there is no peace in Somalia,” he said. “Hence, we will not evacuate from Somalia until that country manages to stand on its own.”

Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.

Earlier this year, the country appeared to inch closer to stability after government troops and African Union forces – deployed in the country since 2007 – drove the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab group from most of its strongholds.

“Being home to IGAD, Djibouti feels a special responsibility for peace in the region as a whole,” Youssouf said.

He went on to note that IGAD had helped Somalia form a government and was currently helping resolve the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan.

“Since the start of the crisis in South Sudan a year ago, IGAD leaders have held five meetings to find a solution to the crisis,” he said. “A recommendation has already been put in place; we expect there will be a solution.”

In recent months, IGAD has sponsored peace talks between South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar. The country fell into violence and chaos last year when Kiir accused Machar of trying to overthrow his government.

Fighting terrorism

Youssouf said Djibouti was fighting terrorism in cooperation with the international community.

“As a result, the terrorist Al-Shabaab group is being defeated… and driven out of Somalia,” he said.

“We are involved not only in stabilizing Somalia, but also in peacekeeping activities in Cote d’Ivoire, the Central African Republic and South Sudan, among others,” he added.

Turning to Yemen’s political turmoil, the foreign minister accused “external hands” of sowing strife in the poor Arab country.

“We need global cooperation [to maintain] the security of the Red Sea, as the matter is global,” he said, going on to stress that Djibouti, Ethiopia and Yemen all enjoyed good relations.

“They [the three countries] do their level best for the security of the Red Sea, but Eritrea is not cooperating,” he said. “Djibouti continues to host naval forces so we can prevent piracy.”

As for relations with Turkey, the Djiboutian minister said Ankara enjoyed “special” ties with all Horn of Africa states.

“We appreciate Turkish support for Somalia and the Horn [of Africa] countries as a whole,” he said. “Turkey is a significant partner to Africa.”

Youssouf went on to note that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been the first foreign leader to visit Somali capital Mogadishu when he still served as Turkish prime minister.

Chamber of Commerce complaint regarding containers at Port

In other news, the Djiboutian Chamber of Commerce has complained that the accumulation of Ethiopian containers was causing congestion at the Port of Djibouti, the country’s principal outlet for maritime trade with neighboring Ethiopia.

“Ethiopian containers that have accumulated at the port are causing congestion,” chamber chairman Youssouf Moussa Dawaleh told reporters on Friday.

“Some of the containers have been stuck at the port for more than two years now,” he said.

Ethiopian Ambassador to Djibouti Suleiman Dedefo, for his part, said that containers were backed up due to “capacity limitations” on the part of Ethiopian importers. Dedefo noted that the port typically saw container congestion each year during the period from August to December.

“This is when we import fertilizers; the same happens when we import wheat or sugar, he said.

The ambassador added: “Establishing good transport companies and upgrading infrastructure would help solve the problem.”


Review overview
  • THE NOBLE TEACHER December 12, 2014

    ወይ ዘይሓንኩ ጅቡቲ..“Ethiopia and Djibouti can be considered engines to the region, as they are strengthening their relations day by day,” he asserted. “Our integrity will be a model for other countries.”…ኢሎም ምስ ጸላእትና ወያነ እናተዓራረኹስ ከመይ ኢሎም ኣዕሩኽና ክኾኑ ይደልዩ ኣብ MAY 6/1998 ንወያነ ዘምሓድርዎ ዝነበሩ ባድመ ኣቲና ሽዱሽተ ናይ ወያነ ፖሊስ ምስ ቀተልና እሞ ወያነ ንባድመ ገዲፎማ ኣንሳሒቦም ንድሕሪት ገጾም ምስ ወረሩና ክሳዕ ሕጂ ዘይንርስዖ ፣ፍርዲ ዓለም ግን ግምጥልሽ ስለ ዝኾነ ኣብ ክንዲ ንምንታይ ትየምሓድርዎ ዝነበርኩም ንድሕሪት ገጽኩም ስለ ዘንስሓብኩም ብግልጺ ንስኹም ወያነ ኢኹም ወረርቲ ኢሉ ክንዲ ዝቐጽዖም ንዓና ጀመርቲን ወላዕቲ ሓውን ኢሎምና ፣ንሕና ግን ንዝጊ ይጥዓሞ ኢልና እወ ንሕና ኢና መሳወርቲ ሓዊ ኢልና ተቐቢልናዮ።ሕጂ ድማ ጅቡቲ ምስ ንኹሉ ጎረቤት ቶኽቲዅና ከም ዝተዋጋእናዮ ከምስልዎ ዝፍትኑ ዘለዉ ፣እወ ንየመን ጅቡቲ ሱዳንን ኢትዮጵያን ኣብ ዝተፋላለየ ጊዜ ቶኽቲዅናየን ፣ግን ብሓደ ሸነኽ ሃገርና ድማ ቀይሕ ባሕሪ ኣሎ ፣ምስቶም ዓሳታት ናይ ቀይሕ ባሕሪ ግን ኣይተዋጋእናን ፣ስለዚ ኤርትራ ምስ ኩሉ ጎረቤትን መዋድብታን ተዋጊኣ ዝብል ዘረባ ናይ ሓሶት ሓሶት ምዃኑ፣እዚ ድማ ወያነ ንጅቡቲ ሕሹኽ ከም ዝበልዎም ኣይንጣራጠርን።
    ፎእ Senza Sale Weyane ትብል ኣሞይ ጽርሃ,ጨው ዘይብሎም ወያነ ማለታ እዩ። ማለታ እዩ።

    • Zemuy Goitom December 13, 2014

      Dear “The Noble Teacher”

      First of all you do not deserve to call yourself to be named “The Noble Teacher” since a Noble Teacher does not write something irrelevant such as this.

      Do you know what you are saying and how your mentor HIGDEF has started the war on Badme? Why do you kill 6 Woyane police? The ONE MAN RULE, that is Isayas’s rule in Eritrea has decided this mess because his shallow mentality and greedy attitude played part on starting war again against Ethiopia. This is because Isayas has never had used Rules. He kills fighters who seem better than him so that they do not take his leadership. Many innocent tegadelti have been killed during the army struggle. Similarly, he thought by starting the war on Badme, he could gain political power as usual. Consequently, many tens of thousands of Eritreans died during the war, and now almost all youth are fleeing the country.

      Isayas himself started the war with Djibouti and again this resulted in Sanction. We do not have friends from our Neighbors. Ethiopia, Djibouti, Yemen, Sudan etc etc are all our enemies now. Because there is no Constitutional government and because the parliament is not making the decision.

      Until when are we going to be dictated by one man. This man has to go. Eritrea has to live in peace only by establishing Democratic government. We need to throw this Notorious government and all the corrupt leadership.

      Please do not blame Ethiopia or Djibouti for the lack of peace. The main problem is Isayas and his click within Higdef and the Military leadership. Unless we get rid of all these we will never get peace in Eritrea.

      You “the Noble Teacher” can not be more Eritrean than I am. We are same Eritreans, no one is better than the other. However, you need to know who your enemy is.

      • THE NOBLE TEACHER December 13, 2014

        Dear Zemuy Goitom ,

        You made my point ,It is just you used straight alnguage ,I used sarcasm/satire. Please read the intended message ,You & I are saying the same thing.
        That is why I deserve the wisest man in Eritrea thus a NOBLE TEACHER.

        All in love

      • Aziza December 13, 2014

        Dear Zumey you didn’t read the Nobel teacher right.Please read it again and as he said it you both have the same stand.

        • Tamrat Tamrat December 17, 2014

          It is just like the eri opposition all over again. They say same thing still they quarrel.

  • Solomir December 13, 2014

    Issais policies and politics is dead in Eritrea, Africa and all over the world. He is more interested on 2% rather than national interest. issias is the root cause of east africa. he must be uprooted from eritrea for the seak of eritrean people.

  • Brhane December 13, 2014

    Anafra kokah zey felit,s ayhadanayn eye.

  • Ertrawi December 13, 2014

    Djibouti or Ethiopia are puppets who expands special interst needs in horn Africa. I love issayas foreign policy but he needs to improve his local policy.

    As for development, Djibouti small contry getting all the hard currency from Ethiopia and aides from west..but yet shitty county with no service sector…same for Ethiopia, very unbalanced development…so thy governments are special interest puppets.

    I’m realist and not saying Eritrea is developed, but Eritrean is implementing its own development one can deny what the country achieved in healthcare, education, infrastructure and the rest is get all pieces together and march forward.

    Finally saying all this doesn’t make me more Eritrean, I’m an Eritrean and any Eritrean who oppose Issayas is Eritrean. I don’t want hear comments from not Eritrean though, cause it’s not their business.
    Awet n hafash

  • AHMED SALEH !!! December 13, 2014

    Issayas betrayed Djibouti to withhold their POW
    after they released Eritreans POW in respect of
    the agreement .
    I hope their well and alive to be resolved for
    good endings between two neighbors . My heart
    goes to the nation of Eritrea on seeing at the
    hands of wrong leaders .

  • Dani December 14, 2014

    Sneer campein agenst eritrean people and the goverment dimenazin propaganda who cares what they say issayas is the best president in the all Africa so you all go to hell long live the king

  • Wadbahar December 15, 2014

    Isias and the gang he leads have never and will never look to any of Eritrea’s neighboring countries, whether Djibouti or otherwise, as a friendly country or a good neighbour, unless they reduce their countries into Eritrean administrative zones/provinces like the Sudan that has only internal sovereignty and lost its external sovereignty in favour of the Eritrean regime. To that effect, the Sudan, losing its external sovereignty to the Eritrean regime, it ceased to regulate the flow of people and goods into and from its borders with Eritrea, while the Sudanese security apparatus, army, and media serve the Eritrean regime too. Isias usually enters the borders and visits the town of Kassala, or other towns for that matter, any time and without the permission of the Sudanese state (as he did hundreds of times and even last week). This is the behavior of a Shifta; not that of a statesman. His security forces can enter the Sudan, kill or arrest their opponents, as they like (as if they are in Keren or Adi Kaih). A caravan of tens of trucks (up to 100 of them) loaded with oil or other goods can cross into Eritrea without anyone stopping them at check points, as it happened many times. The Sudanese security forces can arrest anyone opposing the Eritrean regime and hand him over to Asmara, as we are accustomed to hear.

    The Sudanese example, as described above, demonstrates the total absence of external sovereignty of a state. To Isias and his gang, this is the exact definition of a good neighbor. In a nutshell, the demand to give up the external sovereignty of the state in favour of the regime in Eritrea is the guiding principle for the Eritrean foreign policy with its neighbours. This is the prism through which we need to see the statement of the Djibouti Foreign Minister. Any commenter who fails to see this thread in the Eritrean foreign policy is either pretending or does not know enough and needs to study.

  • Dawit Meconen December 15, 2014

    Genuine Eritreans,

    Do not be dazzled by glitters on the surfaces; the past is just repeating itself. If you look a little deeper, you will clearly notice the grim reality under which the people of Djibouti and Ethiopia have been going through since time immemorial.

    Djibouti is a mistress of the French for ages, while Ethiopia is of the United States and the British.

    The French, supposedly ex-colonialists, never left the Djibouti; their huge military garrison is still present. Lately, it has become the seat of of the USA Army.

    Since the end of the World War II, Ethiopia has had four successive masters: British—> USA—>Soviets—>USA. Because the military power of the British power was weakened and that of USA strengthened in the aftermath of the ww2, the opportunist haile selase shifted his service of ministering to USA.

    Under haile selase, Ethiopian economic development and haile selas’s alleged statesmanship was artificially glamorized through the Western press, even while the people of Wollo province was falling off like autumn leaves of starvation.

    That was what transpired under Mengistu Haile Mariam and now, under woyane. The reason is the same; no matter who seems to seize the mantle of political leadership of Ethiopia/Djibouti, they invariably do so as proxies of the neocolonialist, who in turn conceal their evil deeds through the power of their mega media corporation.