Country Report Djibouti November 2006

The political scene: Mr Guelleh seeks rapprochement with Iran

Mr Guelleh made a four-day official visit to Iran on September 2nd and had discussions with the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and senior Iranian ministers, including the foreign and defence ministers. Djibouti has not previously had particularly close links with Iran, and Mr Guelleh used the visit both to develop friendly relations, despite his closeness with the US, and to seek Iranian support for his policy towards the conflict in Somalia. He urged Mr Ahmadinejad to give his support to the TFG and to persuade the UIC to play a constructive part in peace talks. Both leaders called on foreign powers not to interfere in the conflict. Mr Guelleh also discussed co-operation in military affairs and increased co-operation with Iran through the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). As part of a joint statement after the visit, he gave his support to Iran's right to develop peaceful nuclear technology and joined the Iranian government in condemning recent Israeli action in Lebanon.

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