Somali president visits Djibouti amid diplomatic tension

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Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo arrived in Djibouti on Thursday amid diplomatic tensions between the two Horn of Africa nations.

Earlier this month, Somalia called for sanctions against Eritrea to be lifted – a move which angered Djibouti officials who point to an unresolved territorial dispute with Eritrea. Relations between Somalia and Djibouti are historically strong but recent peace efforts in the Horn of Africa are placing tension on this old alliance.

Farmajo arrives in Djibouti

Farmajo arrived in Djibouti on Thursday following an invitation from Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh. During his time in Djibouti, Farmajo will speak with Guelleh on a wide range of issues including bilateral ties and trade between the two countries.

“Both leaders will discuss further strengthening bilateral ties between our two countries,” Somalia’s presidential communication director, Abdinur Mohamed, posted on Twitter. “Somalia and Djibouti share strong brotherly bonds.”

While the visit isn’t a direct response to recent events in the Horn of Africa, one topic expected to be discussed is the trilateral relationship between Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea. Somalia has joined Ethiopia in efforts to build ties with Eritrea and this causes two problems for Djibouti.

First, Djibouti is locked in an ongoing border dispute with Eritrea but the bigger economic problem for Djibouti is that stronger ties between Eritrea and other nations in the region could compete with Djibouti’s trade, military and development prospects.

For Somalia, the challenge of building ties with Eritrea without hurting its long-standing relationship could be crucial to maintaining peace in the Horn of Africa.

Featured image: By AMISOM Photo/Ilyas Ahmed – https://www.flickr.com/photos/au_unistphotostream/31973423443/in/dateposted/, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56105669

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.