The president of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh, has said relations between Ethiopia and Djibouti were deepening and the two countries had become important to each other. He said it was necessary to unite the two countries if their peoples were interested in unification.
the president gave audience to journalists drawn from various Ethiopian media outlets last week. During their five-day visit to Djibouti at the invitation of the Djibouti government, the Ethiopian journalists were informed by various Djibouti government officials about the strong socio-economic ties between the two countries, information which the president reaffirmed.
"The Djibouti and Ethiopian peoples were tied to each other long before the construction of the railway [linking the two countries]," said President Guelleh, adding that any Ethiopian visiting Djibouti for the first time could appreciate that fact.
"The two countries are partners. There is no sector in which the two countries do not cooperate," noted the president.
"We do not find any difference between Djibouti and Ethiopia," he affirmed.
Asked where the current social, political and economic relations would lead to, and if there was a chance for the two countries to be one country and if he himself was interested in its realization, President Guelleh said "if the Djibouti and Ethiopian peoples want unity, we should implement it".
It is worth recalling that the Ethiopian parliament ratified a proclamation this year allowing Djibouti to get 103,000 cubic mitres of water every day from Ethiopia for free. Moreover, Ethiopia has offered Djibouti electric supply at lower tariffs. It has also been learnt that preparations are at a final stage to establish another power supply line to Djibouti through Afar [Regional State].
It has also been learnt that Djibouti has completed 60 per cent of a 98 km railway project to link the two countries.
Construction of a 160m-dollar port for Ethiopian potash export is also under way in Tajourah, Djibouti, which is close to [Ethiopia's] Afar Regional State. In light of the construction of the port, Ethiopia is also working to build a railway linking Mekele [northern Ethiopian town] to Tajourah.
Djibouti is also working to build ports by giving priority to Ethiopia's specific export needs. There are also plans to build a port specifically for Ethiopia's livestock exports.
There are also long-term plans to establish a port and maritime organization called Great Horns to build an alternative port for Ethiopia, South Sudan and the region as a whole.
"We are very far away from where we want to be," said Djibouti Minister of Finance and Economy Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh.
"Djibouti's activities are bland without Ethiopia's economic development," added the minister.
He said power costs in Djibouti had dropped by 30 per cent, thanks to the cheap power supply from Ethiopia.
The minister said the government-to-government contacts were, more or less, on a daily basis, but there were gaps in the people-to-people relations.
The Ethiopian ambassador to Djibouti, Sulayman Dedefo, said "the relations between the two countries can be described as beyond diplomatic etiquette".
The ambassador said "what the two countries are creating is economic unification," adding that he was convinced that as long as there existed economic union, political unification would be a reality.
Source: The Reporter website, Addis Ababa, in Amharic 14 Dec 14
Djibouti, Ethiopia working for economic integration, Djibouti minister
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Text of report in English by pro-Ethiopian government Walta Information Centre website on 11 December
Addis Ababa, 11 December: Ethiopia and Djibouti have been strengthening their economic and political bilateral relations in a level that could serve as a model for other countries in the region, Djibouti's Ministry of Foreign and International Cooperation said.
While briefing journalist on Wednesday [10 December], Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, the minister of foreign and international cooperation government spokesperson, said the two countries have been working closely for both regional economic integration and lasting peace. The relations between the two countries are based on trust and a win-win approach that could serve as a model for other countries in the region, he added.
Ethiopia and Djibouti have been working industriously for economic integration, being hand in glove, with the help of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), WIC [Walta Information Centre] learnt.
IGAD [Inter-Governmental Authority on Development], in addition to its involvement in regional peace and stability, it has been working hard to ascertain regional economic integration.
The two countries have been doing their best level to enhance traffic influx, policy harmonization, infrastructure development and to realize peaceful coexistence in the region.
According to the minister, the two countries along with other countries in the world have also been collaborating in securing the Red Sea region. He also said that the cooperation incorporates developing infrastructure, expanding trade and investment, maintaining peace and stability. According to the minister, Djibouti needs to cooperate with Ethiopia as Ethiopia has become key regional role player in economic integration and socio-political affairs. He also emphasized that Djibouti has determined to use the opportunity Ethiopia has offered to all countries in the region through its fast and sustainable economic growth. The two countries have established a ministerial commission responsible for facilitating economic integration, the foreign minister emphasized.
The two countries cooperate in curbing the political and peace vacuum in Somalia that let terrorists stretch their hands upon the people of Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia, aiming to hamper the peace and development of the region, WIC learnt.
In an endeavour to ensure peace and stability in the region, Djibouti had one battalion in Somalia and it has planned to send another battalion soon, he added.