Djibouti, Egypt Review Red Sea Security Cooperation

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Djibouti and Egypt have opened discussions to review cooperation of security of Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, a strategic area vital to global shipping and increasingly an arena of contention with regional rivals like Iran, Turkey and Qatar.

On Thursday, the Djibouti Foreign Minister, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf met with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Choukry during a meeting on the sidelines of the forthcoming African Union summit in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

According to a brief statement, Both ministers discussed the security of the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa region and establishing an Egyptian free zone in Djibouti.

Yousuf stressed the historical relations between the two countries and his country’s aspiration to develop them in all fields.

“The meeting also tackled a number of regional issues, such as the situation in the Horn of Africa and the Eritrean-Djibouti relations.” the Djibouti Foreign Minister’s statement said.

Maintaining stability

The two ministers stressed the importance of maintaining stability and achieving integration in the region by supporting cooperation programs.

On his part, Egypt’s Choukry underscored his country’s aspiration to strengthen relations in the future in various fields.

Saudi alliance on Red Sea and Gulf of Aden

In December last year, Saudi Arabia announced that it was forming an alliance with six countries bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Both Djibouti and Egypt have sided with Saudi Arabia against Qatar during the June 2017 blockade.

During the Riyadh conference in December 12, representatives from Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Jordan gathered without reaching a final agreement but later agreed to set up a team of experts for technical talks.

Eritrea, with Red Sea islands and a mainland coastline of 1,150-kilometres (715 miles), was not present, according to reporters. Nor was Ethiopia, which has no access to the sea but the largest population in the Horn of Africa.

Turkey and Iran who continue to maintain their influence in the Horn of African region were not part of the discussions.

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