The 18th Ethio-Djibouti Joint Border Administrators and Commissioners’ Committee meeting was held this week, June 5th-6th in Dire Dawa. Ethiopia’s delegation was led by Ato Mulugeta Mekonnen, Director of Immigration and Nationality Affairs; Djibouti’s delegation was headed by Mr. Dini Mohammed Bourhan, Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Djibouti. Ato Adam Farah, Deputy Mayor of the City of Dire Dawa, and guest of honour welcomed the Djiboutian delegation and wished them a pleasant stay in their “second home”, Dire Dawa. He underlined the close cooperation existing between the two countries in general and between the Border Commissioners and Administrators on both sides of the border. He also highlighted the shared interests of the two countries in regional peace and security and levels of consultation and cooperation that existed between them. Both delegations expressed their satisfaction over the level of relations existing between Ethiopia and Djibouti and hoped they would continue to operate in a spirit of brotherhood and mutual understanding.
The meeting discussed the activities of the Joint Border Sub-committees, the movement of peoples and goods, cross-border trade, and illegal migration as well as other issues. They noted that the Border Sub-committees met regularly to discuss problems and work out solutions to allow a free movement of people and goods along the border, as well contribute to continued social and cultural interactions between the two peoples. Pastoralist movements on both sides of the border were being carried out in a cordial and cooperative spirit. Both sides agreed to maintain the existing cooperation and reaffirmed their commitments to support and encourage the activities of the Border Sub-committees. As regards cross-border trade, the two sides agreed on the need to sign the draft Cross-Border Trade Protocol as soon as possible and expressed their commitment to finalize the draft so that it could be signed at the next meeting of the Border Commission. It was agreed this would be held in Ali Sabieh, in Djibouti.
There was agreement on the damage that illegal trade was causing to the economies of both countries. The delegates emphasized the need for a joint effort to resolve the problem. They discussed the specific mechanisms of control that should be established by the competent bodies to reduce the negative effect of illicit trade. They agreed on the need for an effective cross-border transport network between the two countries as a basis for enhancing their relationship. The Ethiopian side explained its five year road development plan, incorporated in the Growth and Transformation Plan, which gives details of the intended rail and road links between Ethiopia and Djibouti.
There was concern over the increasing phenomenon of human trafficking and the two sides discussed ways on how to address the problem. The Ethiopian side detailed the measures being taken by the Ethiopian government, including the establishment of a national committee, drawn from eleven ministerial offices and all nine regional states and the two city administrations. This has set up structures down up to district level. Awareness training programs are being given to a total of 195 registered agencies. Some traffickers have already been brought to justice and sentenced. The need for continued coordination between the two sides was underlined. Overall, both sides thoroughly evaluated the issue of security cooperation along the borders and welcomed the success of the existing close cooperation while underlining the need to further strengthen collaboration.
Source: A Week in the Horn – June 8, 2012 issue.
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