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The President of the Republic of Djibouti, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh welcomed Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to Djibouti for a three day State visit starting from Saturday February 7, 2015. The visit will mark the first official State trip by a sitting Ethiopian Prime Minister to Djibouti.
During this historic visit, the two leaders discussed the ongoing programme of economic and social integration between the two countries and identify ways to expand mutual cooperation and support. The two leaders focused on a number of regional issues, including ways to enhance their collaboration in the fight against terrorism and the need to promote regional integration to maintain stability in the Horn of Africa and East Africa as a whole.
A number of agreements were also signed on Saturday, February 2, which are expected to increase economic and social links between Djibouti and Ethiopia and enhance their key role in the region.
Noting the importance of Djibouti to Ethiopia and vice versa, Hailemariam stressed the significance of the high level summit in strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries in the political, social and security areas.
“The first official visit of an Ethiopian Prime Minister to Djibouti marks a milestone in the relationship between our two nations,” president Guelleh said.
Furthermore, in an unprecedented move designed to reinforce the importance of the relationship between the two countries, Hailemariam will directly address the people of Djibouti through their parliamentary representatives, when he speaks at the country’s National Assembly today Sunday, February 8.
At the press conference that followed the signing of several agreements by the respective ministers of the two countries, Hailemariam said that the continent of Africa have never seen such cooperation and integration as the two countries in all levels. “We are integrated socially, politically, security wise and economic and infrastructural interconnection be it road, rail or other; that it is truly an example for the region” Hailemariam said.
An achievement also hailed by the President of Djibouti who reiterated his dedication for further strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries and people in various sectors.
Asked by Capital how an official visit never took place considering the vast relations between the two countries, Hailemariam said that there has been several visits between the two head of states both in Ethiopia and Djibouti to attend or take part in various events and “our relations are so natural and brotherly that it never was an issue” he added.
In the coming year the two countries will also be connected with modern railway line.
The statement made on Saturday indicated that the two countries have also concluded a USD two billion electric power interconnection agreement expected to increase affordable electricity access in Ethiopia and Djibouti through regional cooperation in power trade.
The transmission line will enable Ethiopia to export an additional 75mw of electricity to Djibouti and will help Djibouti to reduce its electricity costs, assist with the development of new industries, and expand opportunities in Djibouti’s fishing sector and support job creation.
According to the new transmission line study, it will be installed from the northern part of Ethiopia that will be connected with the Djibouti line at Dejeto.
On the press conference that was held on Saturday February 7 at the National Palace of Djibouti, Hailemariam said that the two countries have signed a landmark agreement on several economic sectors.
The gas pipeline, which will stretch from the southeastern part of Ethiopia to the port of Djibouti to export Ethiopian natural gas that is being developed at Kalub, in Somali Region, is one of the deals that gained momentum on the current visit. The project cost is about USD three billion.
“This mega project will help us to convey gas through Djibouti port to the international market. We have to facilitate this as quickly as possible because it is a very important economic asset for both countries,” Hailemariam said.
The two countries have also signed an agreement on exploration and working on the mining sector.
“Our two countries have never been explored properly so we are the one who should take this responsibility. In this regard the landmark agreement has been signed between the two countries Ministry of Mines and Natural Resources,” he said.
“Geographically we are situated in the same area and the geology dictates that we work together,” Hailemariam added.
The border trade is also another point that got attention during the current visit. The two countries have signed a deal on a border trade agreement to harmonize the border trade on a higher level.
To follow more regularly the decisions taken, the two leaders also agreed that the joint commission meetings be held monthly.
The high level delegation from Ethiopia includes Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Sufian Ahemed; Minister of Transport, Workneh Gebeyehu; Minister of Mines, Tolosa Shagi; and Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Alemayehu Tegenu and other senior government officials.