Djiboutian President Defends His Country’s Ties With Somaliland.
Djibouti, Jan 24, 2004 (SL Times) – President Ismail Omer Ghelle of
neighboring Djibouti defended his country’s policy of improving
relations with Somaliland.
In an interview with the BBC Somali service on Thursday, Mr. Ghelle
stressed that Djibouti was keen to improve relations between the two
countries because “Somaliland is our immediate neighbor and
Somalilanders are our brothers.”
The Djiboutian president who was full of praise for Somaliland said it
was imperative for his country to respond positively to Somaliland’s
“They emerged from the ruins to establish an environment where law and
order prevails, where people move and express themselves freely
without fear,” President Ghelle explained.
Mr Ghelle stressed that Somaliland deserves to be supported and
commended for its achievements. Describing Somaliland's achievements
as self-made, he added by saying, “They resolved to embark on a
reconstruction and reintegration process without external help and the
accomplishments they have made were not given to them as a gift.”
Asked whether the improved relations between the two neighbors might
prompt Djibouti to recognize Somaliland, Mr. Ismail Omer Ghelle
responded by saying, “Somalia is our neighbor, and it is they who
united together under one flag, but whatever satisfies them now would
be fine with us.”
The Djiboutian president’s positive remarks about Somaliland were
received as good news by Somalilanders, following months of a heated
debate across the political spectrum on the issue of relations between
Somaliland and Djibouti. President Ghelle's statements also came as
relief to President Rayale’s government which faced strong criticism
from the opposition that relations with Djibouti were nothing more
than a dubious enterprise favoring President Ghelle.
It was only about 5 months ago when Somaliland's Minister of Interior,
Ismail Adan Osman, returned from a surprise state visit to Djibouti to
announce that relations between the two countries were going to
witness a significant level of improvement. At the time, the Interior
Minister’s statement drew a lot of skepticism from the public. Given
the remarkable progress made in the normalization of bilateral
relations between the two countries in the last few months, Ismail
Yare’s bragging about his government’s successes with Djibouti may be
now taken more seriously.