Djibouti does deal with opposition

2015-01-01 05:15


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Nairobi - Djibouti's government announced on Wednesday it had reached a deal with the Horn of Africa country's main opposition party following 18 months of negotiations.

The deal, seen as crucial for the stability of the strategic nation, paves the way for the opposition Union for National Salvation (USN) to take up seats in parliament for the first time since 2013, when they accused the government of rigging the elections.

"This historic agreement opens the way for a new period of collaboration and a greater synergy between the different political powers in the country, which will strengthen our young democracy, consolidate the gains made so far and allow the peaceful democratic process to proceed," Djibouti's foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said the accord was signed on Wednesday by ruling party leader and Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil, and USN leader Ahmed Youssouf, with President Ismael Omar also present, and promised "a significant calming of the political climate in the country."

"USN deputies will return to the National Assembly, opening the way for their full participation in the political life of the country. Bipartisan working commissions will be established and work on the political reforms proposed by both parties will be started," the statement said.

Djibouti is home to the United States' biggest base in Africa which is used for anti-terror operations in Yemen and Somalia as well as for other operations across Africa. France also maintains a military base in Djibouti.

Djibouti, a former French colony, also has a strategic port serving landlocked Ethiopia on the Gulf of Aden, commanding the entrance to the Red Sea, and which is also used a base for international anti-piracy operations.

The country is a key contributor of troops to the African Union force in neighbouring Somalia, battling al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab militants.

Read more on:    djibouti  |  east africa
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