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France, Djibouti signed a new Defense Cooperation treaty

President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti who has been in a visit to France this week met with President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday.

President Guelleh made no statement to the press after his meeting, but the two sides signed a new treaty of cooperation in defence matters. This replaces the agreement signed in Djibouti in 1977 after the country’s independence.

According to a statement from the Elysee Palace in Paris, the agreement establishes a framework for bilateral military cooperation and covers the facilities granted to the French forces stationed in Djibouti.

The French base in Djibouti remains the largest French military base overseas, and has nearly 3,000 troops as well as air support.

According to the statement the agreement “demonstrates the commitment of both countries to close cooperation in security”. The statement added that “France is firmly committed to the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Djibouti, strategically located in the heart of a fragile area.”

France, of course, demonstrated this commitment when Djibouti found itself threatened by Eritrea’s attack in 2008, subsequently the subject of Security Council Resolution 1844 which Eritrea has persistently ignored. During their meeting, President Ismail Omar Guelleh and President Sarkozy also discussed strengthening of bilateral relations, the situation in Somalia and the fight against piracy.

Source: A Week in the Horn – Dec. 23, 2011

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