Isaias Afwerki to visit Djibouti

Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh and his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afwerki in Jeddah in September. (SPA)

ESAT News (December 6, 2018)

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki will visit Djibouti ‘soon’ as relation between the two countries thaws.

The report by Anadolu news agency quoted Djibouti foreign minister, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, as saying that although there is no set date for the visit, the leaders of the two countries will exchange visits ‘soon.’

Speaking on the sidelines of the Djibouti International Trade Fair, Youssouf credited Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his role in bringing a thaw in relations among countries in the region.

Leaders of Eritrea and Djibouti met in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in September for historic first talks a decade after a border clash resulted in strained diplomatic relations.

Djibouti claims the 1.5 km long Dumeira mountain and Dumeira island is being illegally occupied by Eritrea.

In June 2008, Djibouti claimed that Eritrean forces had crossed into its territory and dug trenches on both sides of the border. The two forces exchanged fire in a brief armed face-off.

The now lifted UN arms embargo imposed on Eritrea in 2009 was mainly due to an alleged support for Al-Shabaab. It was also due to its dispute with Djibouti. A UN team of experts had repeatedly said there were no evidence that Eritrea was supporting the Somali insurgent group Al Shabaab. The embargoes have however continued until last month.