Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh paid a state visit to Egypt on February 6 and 7, where he met with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The talks between the two heads of state in Cairo were mainly focused on the evolution of regional dynamics, including in particular the issue of the Ethiopian GERD dam. The Egyptian president is engaged in intense political activity aimed at increasing international consensus in favor of Cairo’s requests for a review of the criteria for managing the dam, considered as an existential threat to the country.

President al-Sisi travelled to the Horn of Africa last May, and visited Djibouti, initiating a fruitful dialogue with President Guelleh in the search for alliances to pursue a regional policy capable of putting pressure on Ethiopia within the African Union.

Djibouti, which has excellent relations with Ethiopia, characterized by intense economic relations recently strengthened by the construction of a railway line connecting Addis Ababa and the cargo terminals of the port of Doraleh, represents an important element of the Egyptian regional strategy towards Ethiopia.

The visit of Ismail Omar Guelleh was therefore solicited by President al-Sisi with the intention of strengthening the plan of bilateral economic cooperation, share the priorities of security of the Red Sea and ideally promote in this way a rapprochement of Djibouti to the positions of Cairo on issues related to the management of the GERD dam in the context of the ongoing discussions at the African Union.

Cairo’s aim, in particular, is to obtain Djibouti’s consensus in favor of the Egyptian request for a binding agreement for the management of the filling of the dam’s reservoir, thus strengthening the front of the countries that put pressure on Addis Ababa toward a mediation favorable to the Egyptian positions.


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