A Week in the Horn | Embassy of Ethiopia, London
I am honoured to represent Canada as its Ambassador to Canada and Djibouti, in addition to being Canada's representative to the African Union (AU). Ethiopia Profile: Geography, People, History, Government and Political Conditions, Economy, Defense, Foreign Relations, U.S.-Ethiopia Relations. on the east by Djibouti and Somalia, on the south by Kenya, and on the west and .. and provides trade leads, free export counseling, help with the export process, and more. However, in , Djibouti and Ethiopia announced plans to revitalize the century-old The Horn of Africa: Politics and International Relations. one senator in the French Parliament, and one counselor in the French Union Assembly.
Five candidates contested the elections for president. FRUD gained control of some areas of the north and west. In FebruaryFrance deployed forces in Djibouti, and the Afars declared unilaterally a cease-fire.
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Rebel bases in the north were occupied, and many opposition leaders were imprisoned, including Ali Aref Bourhan, for an alleged coup attempt. He was released in December Inthe FRUD suffered severe losses to a government offensive. Inits leadership split over the issue of negotiations with the government. A more moderate wing then entered into negotiations and called a cease-fire.
In Marchin compliance with the peace accords signed in Decemberthe majority of the FRUD disarmed, and the military integrated a segment of the insurgents into its ranks.
Two FRUD leaders accepted ministerial posts. Journalists have also been harassed, intimidated, and detained. Gouled became ill in December and spent several months in hospital in France.
During this period there appeared a succession struggle between Ismael Omar Guelleh and Ismael Godi Hared, both close advisors of the president.
Ethiopia: Moving Towards Deeper Ethio-Djibouti Integration
In part to cut down on inter-party fighting, Gouled elected to remain at the helm after his convalescence. In February he announced his intention to retire and that he would not be a candidate for the scheduled April elections. At that point the RPP named Guelleh, a key advisor and chief of staff to the former president for over 20 years, as its candidate. There was no official boycott of the elections, for the first time since Djibouti's independence from France in In January Djibouti held a new round of parliamentary elections that the opposition claimed was highly fraudulent.
MAHE COMMUNICATION - AMBASSADE DJIBOUTIENNE
By the official tally, the UAD opposition coalition was only 4, votes away from beating the presidential movement. Yet because of Djibouti's winner-takes-all system, the RPP won all 65 seats.
For the first time in Djibouti's history, seven women won seats in the parliament. In the presidential elections that followed on 8 Aprilthe opposition alleged irregularities and intimidation in the run-up to the contest, and boycotted the polls on election day. With the absence of any opposition, President Guelleh was elected to another six-year term.
Following the election, Guelleh attempted to mend fences by announcing that he would step down after his second term and that he would not amend the constitution to seek a third term.
The electoral victories cemented a nearly complete domination of government by the President's sub-clan, the Issa Mamassans, and severely restricted political space and economic opportunities for the Afar people. In reports began to surface of rebel insurrections allegedly led by disaffected elements of the FRUD.
Djibouti is situated in one of the least stable regions of the world, and it occupies a highly strategic location facing the Saudi Arabian peninsula, straddling the choke point between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
President Guelleh maintained harmonious relations with neighbors and superpowers. Inthe government signed a bi-lateral treaty with Eritrea promising economic, political and social cooperation, and Djibouti continued to benefit from the significant transit of goods to and from land-locked Ethiopia via its well-developed seaport.
Although a potential magnet for terrorists, the presence of French and American military bases in the country has served to dampen potential threats from Somalia's clan rivalries, which have destabilized greater Somalia and its self-declared autonomous states of Somaliland and Puntland.
The president, who according to the constitution must be an Issa, is elected by universal adult suffrage; the prime ministerwho heads the cabinet, must be an Afar.
The legislature consists of the unicameral Chamber of Deputies, whose 65 members are elected for five-year terms. In Januarythe Gouled government named a committee to draft a new constitution that would permit multiparty democracy, limit presidential powers, and establish an independent judiciary. According to Djibouti's winner-takes-all electoral rules, the party obtaining a majority in a given district is awarded all the seats within that district, which explains how the FRUD won Ruling party dominance harks back to October when a law was enacted that restricted political activity to the ruling RPP.
That year, the government temporarily detained the leaders of and banned the Djiboutian People's Party Parti Populaire Djiboutien. Illegal Issa and Afar parties, including an Ethiopianbacked Afar party-in-exile and a Somali-backed Issa party-in-exile, waited in the wings.
Despite the constitutional changes that legalized opposition parties, Djibouti remained tightly controlled by the RPP People's Rally for Progress. On 18 Decemberlegislative elections were held, with the RPP gaining Other parties boycotted the elections on the grounds that Gouled did not consult the opposition in the "democratization" process.
Most Afars did not vote. The RPP, therefore, won all 65 seats. Gouled was reelected, although not convincingly, on 7 May The four losing parties and FRUD, at the time a paramilitary organization in the north Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy accused the government of election fraud, a charge supported by international observers. There were no female candidates in the election.
In February President Gouled designated his successor, longtime advisor Ismael Omar Guelleh, who was then duly elected president on 9 April and installed on 8 May His cabinets reflected the proportional ethnic composition required by the constitution, with continued dominance of his sub-clan of the Issas.
FRUD-Renaissance, which separated from the FRUD insigned a peace accord in Paris on 7 February with the government, which also included a general release of prisoners held by both sides. It is a coalition of Afaroriented and Issa-oriented dissidents. President Ismail Omar Guelleh ran unopposed in the 8 April elections, guaranteeing him another six-year term in office.
His appointed prime minister was Mohamed Dileita, who held the position as head of government since 4 March But rapprochement with one neighbor heightened tensions with another. Last November, the U. But other factors may be fueling its grievances. Some experts on the region believe that a rekindled relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea leaves Djibouti out in the cold. A map of ports in the Horn of Africa. Peace with Eritrea could give landlocked Ethiopia more access to the Red Sea.
Djibouti has spent recent years investing in large-scale infrastructure projects: Djibouti has taken on massive debt to build its infrastructure, and most projects promise to pay dividends, but only after many years.
Diplomatic impasse In an open letter to the U. Said stated that Eritrea had released all Djiboutian prisoners of war in and had never occupied Djiboutian territory. The burden of proof to substantiate accusations of wrongdoing, he added, lies with Djibouti, not Eritrea.