Djibouti is America’s key partner in Horn of Africa’s peace, says Secretary Pompeo


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks about a Trump administration executive order on the International Criminal Court as Defense Secretary Mark Esper listens during a joint news conference at the State Department in Washington, June 11, 2020./ REUTERS

Djibouti continues to be an important partner of the United States in efforts to foster prosperity and peace in the Horn of Africa, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

Pompeo said this in a congratulatory message to the people of Djibouti on the 43rd anniversary of their independence on Saturday, June 27.

Pompeo said that even as the Horn of Africa faces “the simultaneous challenges of Covid-19, a desert locust infestation, and devastating flood damage, Djibouti has played a leading regional role in addressing these threats.

“The US- Djiboutian partnership is vital to bringing security and development to the region. We look forward to continuing our important work together for the mutual benefit of the people of Djibouti and the United States,” Pompeo said.

Formal diplomatic relations between the US and Republic of Djibouti began in 1977, following independence from France, but there has been heightened ties in the recent past.

The US says Djibouti is its partner on security, regional stability, and humanitarian efforts across the region. In this regard, Djibouti hosts the only US military presence in Africa at Camp Lemonnier, established by formal agreement in 2003.

A bilateral agreement with the government of Djibouti also provides the US with access to Djibouti’s port facilities and airport.

The US Agency for International Development’s Food for Peace program maintains a warehouse for pre-positioned food assistance commodities in Djibouti, serving as a hub for rapid response in parts of Africa and Asia.

In May 2014, President Barack Obama met his Djibouti counterpart Ismail Guelleh and discussed, among other issues, food security, expanding health care and education, security cooperation, and operations in East Africa.

In March 2018, President Guelleh hosted former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his first visit to Djibouti on March 9, 2018.

“One of our most important areas of cooperation and mutual interest, I think is well understood, is security. And we are grateful to Djibouti for hosting thousands of United States troops here in Djibouti. This is a relationship that has been mutually beneficial to both the United States and Djibouti, by strengthening Djibouti military forces, as well.”

“US military presence here does facilitate a very quick response to terrorism and violent extremism that threatens both of our countries. But as well, it threatens the region and stability in this region,” Tillerson said then.

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