Djibouti: Communique du Doraleh Container Terminal (09.09.2018)

Statement of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Horn of Africa (07.09.2018)

Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Cooperation Between Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea (06.09.2018)

Considering that the peoples of Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea share close ties of geography, history, culture and religion as well as vital common interests;

Respecting each other’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity;

Desiring to bolster their historical ties to achieve their lofty objectives;

The Governments of Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea have reached the following agreement that reflects the aspirations of their peoples:-

1. The three countries shall foster comprehensive cooperation that advances the goals of their peoples.

2. The three countries shall build close political, economic, social, cultural and security ties.

3. The three countries shall work in coordination to promote regional peace and security.

4. The three governments hereby establish a Joint High-Level Committee to coordinate their efforts in the framework of this Joint Declaration.

Done in Asmara, September 5, 2018

For the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

For the Federal Republic of Somalia

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed

For the State of Eritrea

President Isaias Afwerki

Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia to hold trilateral Talks on Economic Integration (05.09.2018)

President Farmajo, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki are scheduled to meet in Asmara on 6th and 7th September.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, September 5, 2018 – Mogadishu 5th September 2018; The president of the Federal Republic of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is leading efforts to consolidate gains made at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation by facilitating the prospect of a tripartite agreement on economic Integration between the countries of the Horn.

President Farmajo, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki are scheduled to meet in Asmara on 6th and 7th September to hold discussions on strengthening the economic and security stability of the region.

The leaders would also discuss measures to end all political and social conflicts between the countries of the horn to promote harmony and a happy coexistence between neighbors of the horn.

President Farmajo’s vision is to promote free trade flow, and a mutual economic cooperation between all the countries of the Horn of Africa.

Somalia seeks to play a key role in economic and social integration of the Horn of Africa to foster trade and investment, and to improve connectivity between the people and businesses of the Horn.

In Beijing, Somalia signed the Belt and Road Initiative that enhances connectivity and promotes economic development, and an agreement on improving Economic and Technical Cooperation between China and Somalia.

Somalia’s ambition to take the lead in facilitating a robust Horn of Africa trade bloc would foster stronger economic stability and development for the Horn nations.

High Court of England & Wales restrains Djibouti’s port company from terminating joint venture with DP world (05.09.2018)

Port Company also prohibited from replacing DP World directors in joint venture Company.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, September 5, 2018 – The High Court of England & Wales has granted an injunction restraining Djibouti’s port company, Port de Djibouti S.A. (PDSA), from treating its joint venture shareholders’ agreement with global trade enabler DP World as terminated. The High Court has further prohibited PDSA from removing directors of the Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) joint venture company who were appointed by DP World pursuant to that agreement. PDSA is not to interfere with the management of DCT until further orders of the Court or the resolution of the dispute by a London-seated arbitration tribunal.

PDSA is owned in majority by the Government of Djibouti and its CEO is the Chairman of the Ports & Free Zones Authority of Djibouti. Hong Kong-based China Merchants is the minority shareholder in PDSA.

The High Court’s order follows the unlawful attempt by PDSA to terminate the joint venture agreement with DP World and the calling of an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on 9 September by PDSA to replace DP World appointed directors of the DCT joint venture company.  This is the third legal ruling in relation to the Doraleh Container Terminal following two previous decisions from the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), all of them in favour of DP World. It recognises that although PDSA is the majority shareholder of the DCT joint venture company, it is DP World that has management control of the company, in accordance with the parties’ legally binding contracts.

The new ruling against PDSA, issued by the Court without PDSA’s participation, makes clear that PDSA:

  • Cannot act as if the joint venture agreement with DP World has been terminated
  • Cannot appoint new directors or remove DP World’s nominated directors without its consent
  • Cannot cause the DCT joint venture company to act on the “Reserved Matters” without DP World’s consent
  • Cannot instruct or cause DCT to give instructions to Standard Chartered Bank in London to transfer funds to Djibouti

If PDSA disobeys the Court’s order and seeks to replace DP World nominated directors of DCT on 9 September, it may be in contempt of court and face a fine or the seizure of its assets and its officers and directors may be imprisoned.

The Court has ordered PDSA to present its defence at another hearing on 14 September.

Meanwhile, DP World is notifying Standard Chartered Bank so that the bank will reject any instructions that may be sent to them after the 9 September meeting. China Merchants, who have been given operational control of the Djibouti Freezone in breach of DP World’s exclusivity rights, will also be informed given its minority shareholding in PDSA.

Somalia: Food security improving but recovery remains fragile (02.09.2018)

The Secret Chinese Arms Trade in the Horn of Africa (03.09.2018)

China is actively positioning itself as a major supplier of arms to the African continent and is stepping up its shipments of weapons to conflict zones through Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

LONDON, United Kingdom, September 3, 2018 – EXX Africa (https://www.EXXAfrica.com) published a special report on the secret Chinese arms trade in the Horn of Africa.

Download the report: bit.ly/2PvgfDy

Beyond the commercial objective of increasing sales of Chinese manufactured weapons and military equipment, China also seeks to control a greater share of the weapons trade in Africa in order to protect its extensive infrastructure investments on the continent. On the back of the One Belt, One Road initiative, China has made massive investments in East Africa, including railway lines, hydropower dams, and new port projects in countries such as Kenya, Sudan, and Ethiopia.

Central to this strategy is China’s military logistics base in Djibouti, which China is preparing to facilitate large-scale shipments of weapons and military equipment to African countries, in particular Sudan and South Sudan.

Djibouti’s own strategically important port, which lies in a major shipping lane, is also set to move towards the centre of the regional arms trade.

Following a new investigation that included collection of intelligence from well-placed security sector sources in the Horn of Africa, we have found evidence that Chinese weapons are making their way from the Chinese PLA Support Base in Djibouti and the commercial Port of Djibouti towards African conflict zones that have been placed under an arms embargo.

For any further comment or a full copy of the report, please contact https://www.EXXAfrica.com/

The trade of illegal weapons implicates senior government officials in Djibouti – Report (03.09.2018)

EXX Africa published a special report on the arms trade in the Horn of Africa.

LONDON, United Kingdom, September 3, 2018 – EXX Africa (EXXAfrica.com) published a special report on the arms trade in the Horn of Africa.

Download the report: bit.ly/2CcF7hr

The trade of illegal weapons implicates senior government officials in Djibouti, which suggests that the Doraleh port terminal, which is now under government control and suffers from porous customs checks, will increasingly be leveraged as an arms trade hub. However, the most significant flows of illegal weapons will continue to be moved in smaller dhows via the fishing communities in the south-east coast and via the Garacad port project.

So far, and over the past few years, the DP World operated Doraleh terminal was not used for arms trafficking. However, local intelligence suggests that the terminal, which is now under government control, may in future be leveraged as a processing center for the illegal arms trade.

There is some evidence that the Doraleh terminal will increasingly be used for the weapons trade. The Chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority (DPFZA), Aboubaker Omar Hadi, is a close friend of Ali Abdi Aware, who is a three times presidential candidate of Puntland, as well as a very prominent businessman. They are jointly involved in a venture where Aware is personally in charge of former Yemen president Ali Abdallah Saleh’s bank CAC International. This bank is headquartered in Djibouti. Local intelligence suggests that Omar Hade helped with the registration of the bank and owns shares in it (“part of the investment components”). Moreover, Omar Hadi has established a bank branch in Bosaso that can launder money for underground institutions dealing with weapon imports from Yemen, as the bank hails from Yemen originally.

Aware is also very well established in the Guelleh government and he was the one who set up Puntland’s assistance to Djibouti donating 900 camels to Djibouti when it had an armed dispute with its Eritrean rival over the disputed Doumeira Islands. He also helped Djibouti secure an investment commitment for road construction from the Saudi government back in 2009 when late General Adde Muse Hersi was Puntland’s president.

Indeed, the trade in illegal weapons in Djibouti stretches t the highest echelons of the government. Local intelligence confirms that one company, which in the public version of this report will only be names as Company Z, is owned by the Guelleh family and handles arms trade. Company Z only deals with weapons imports into Somalia. Those same weapons are then often distributed to political factions backed by the government.

All this suggests that the Doraleh terminal will start to play a more prominent role in regional arms trafficking. Local intelligence suggests that the main port of Djibouti is not secure and that customs procedures are porous, which facilitates illegal shipments. Yet, since this terminal will remain one of Djibouti’s main import-export hubs, international scrutiny of cargo flows is high here, which will limit the port’s use as a weapons trade center. However, sources say that much of the illegal arms trade does not need to be moved through Djibouti’s main port. It is moved in smaller dhows via the fishing communities in the south-east coast.

Moreover, Djibouti is also now involved in the construction of Garacad Port. Djibouti became following a political disagreement with the Somali government with regards to the Eritrea-Ethiopia-Somalia rapprochement following the meeting between the Somali President and his counterpart Afewerki in Asmara. Djibouti are taking advantage of the Puntland disagreement with the Somali government here over the Garacad port. Prime Minister Hassan recently visited the region and was invited to the grand opening of the Garacad Project but refused to do so as the Somali government recently began the Hobyo port construction plan, only 90 km down the road.

There is a lot of tension between the Somali government and Djibouti over their involvement in this project. Local intelligence suggests that the Somali government is rightly worried about Djibouti using this as a base for moving weapons from the Gulf of Aden into Puntland and then onwards into Somalia proper (see previous comments on support for destabilising factions within Somalia such as al-Shabaab). Also, Garacad is a regional hotspot for weapons shipments landing, as it was pirate territory from 2008 – 2011. Boats disguised as fishing vessels still land there for smuggling purposes.

It is at Garacad that Djibouti plays its heaviest role in regional arms trafficking. The logistics, freight, and construction companies involved in the Garacad Port Project are often owned by senor Djibouti government officials and military officers. Most of the construction materials for the project will be transported overland from Djibouti or shipped to the coast off Garacad. There is ample opportunity here for weapons smuggling. Again, the UN Monitoring Group reports for this region include names of some entities which local intelligence suggests are still accurate.

Republique de Djibouti: Djibouti Does Not Recognize the Arbitral Award Rendered by the London International Arbitral Court (03.08.2018)

European Union Operation Atalanta (NAVFOR) patrol aircraft reaches 1000 Missions: “1 Mil Misiones!” (26.07.2018)

Collaborating with the Naval Units of European Union Operation Atalanta (NAVFOR) Somalia and other Djibouti based MPRA’s (operating with CTF151) provides stability and security to the ships that pass through the zone

NORTHWOOD, United Kingdom, July 26, 2018 – Deterrence, repression and prevention of piracy begins with the identification of the threat. EU NAVFOR has been making use of Spanish Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) for nearly 10 years with 1000 missions and more than 10,000 hours flown to keep a watch from the skies.

The Spanish MPRA Detachment in Djibouti has recently reached the major milestone of 1000 missions during their commitment to Operation Atalanta since December 2008.

The highly capable Orion P-3C can operate either alone or in coordination with other assets including EU NAVFOR’s helicopters and warships. It can use its inherent flexibility, speed, reach, and response time, to assist maritime vessels under pirate attack. Both Spain and Germany have deployed MPRAs to the Somali coast since the start of Operation Atalanta. The expertise gained by their respective crews is a key factor contributing to the success of the EU NAVFOR Operation.

Since the beginning of the operation, MPRA’s have been key elements in the fight against piracy in the waters of the Indian Ocean. Collaborating with the Naval Units of EU NAVFOR Somalia and other Djibouti based MPRA’s (operating with CTF151) provides stability and security to the ships that pass through the zone.