Why did Djibouti not thank Somalia in the first place? – UM

President Farmajo met his Djiboutian counterpart Ismail Omar Geelle last month during his state visit in Djibouti. Photo credit: Villa Somalia

Mogadishu (UM) – The Foreign Minister of Djibouti. Mohamud Ali Youssouf finally tweeted a message of thanks to the Somali government which worked hard to facilitate the dialogue between Eritrea and Djibouti. The successful dialogue which led to the end of hostilities between the two neighbors was much celebrated but the government of Djibouti and foreign media forgot to the role that Somali played from the beginning. Instead, the Djibouti Foreign Minister thanked the Saudi Government and the foreign media obsessed over Ethiopian led mediation which was totally inaccurate. Eventually, after much protest, the Djiboutian Foreign Minister corrected himself and recognized Somalia’s role but by this time the damage had been done.

Somalia has led the calls for Eritrea and Djibouti to formally meet and engage in dialogue to resolve the disputes born out of their war. From President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo’s first visit to Eritrea, no effort was spared by him and his government to bring the two feuding nations together. Ethiopia, which initially started the war between Eritrea and Djibouti and which itself only started diplomatic relations a few months ago since Prime Minister Abiy was elected, has jumped on the bandwagon to flex its muscles as the regional peacemaker. This is true to an extent but Eritrea and Djibouti would never have met without Somalia.

What went wrong is not clear but it is likely that Djibouti was upset by President Farmaajo’s first visit to Eritrea which they opposed. The mention of Saudi Arabia before Somalia by the Djibouti foreign Minister was either plain snub or horrible miscalculation by a man who is seen by most as competent and effective. What President Farmaajo must ask himself is what his own Foreign Minister was doing sitting around when all these things were happening?

Minister Ahmed Awad went to Djibouti with his counterparts from Ethiopia and Eritrea from Asmara yet he appears to have had no impact on the discussions so much so that he and his country were left out of the celebrations after Eritrea and Djibouti agreed to normalize relations. The Ministry in Mogadishu also released no official statement.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its incompetent leadership and actions betray the ambitions of the Somali government. It is time this mess of an institution was fixed to restore the nations pride and to improve its image so that it can play the important role it must to support this government’s grand ambitions.

On its part, Djibouti must realize that Somalia has been and will remain its most valuable supporter. Somalia was assisting Djibouti before it was independent and now it must not forget this history in Somalia’s moment of vulnerability and recovery. A recovered Somalia will be prosperous and if Djibouti disrespects it like it did yesterday, it must be ready for a similar response in the future.