Djibouti-U.S. Relations

President Barack Obama shakes hands with President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti

Ambassador Douale with US President Barack Obama

The Republic of Djibouti and the United States established diplomatic relations since 1977, following the independence of Djibouti from France. The United States was previously represented by a consulate in the former colony of the French Somalia since 1929.

Djibouti is situated at a unique geostrategic location and is a key partner of the United States on security, regional stability and humanitarian efforts in the Horn of Africa.

The Government of Djibouti supports the United States and takes a proactive stance against terrorism. Djibouti welcomed US military presence at Camp Lemonnier, a former French base in the capital. As a bilateral agreement, the American army also has access to port facilities as well as the airport.

H.E. Mohamed Siad Doualeh is the accredited Ambassador of the Republic of Djibouti to the United States and Permanent Representative to the United Nations since January 2016, succeeding H.E. Ambassador Roble Olhaye, who served as Ambassador to the United States from 1988 until his passing, July 2015.

H.E. Thomas P. Kelly is the U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti since October 2014, succeeding H.E. Ms Geeta Passi.

Exchange of Visits Between Djibouti and U.S. Officials

  • 1991: Official visit of President Hassan Gouled Aptidon.
  • 1999, 2003 & 2010: Official visits of the Head of State, H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh. The president subsequently met with Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and other senior level American officials.
  • 2014: May 3-4: The official visit of H.E. President Ismail Omar Guelleh, at the invitation of President Barak Obama was a historic moment in the relations between the two countries. It symbolized the dedication of the strategic partnership between the two countries.
  • 2002-Dec.: Visit of U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
  • 2007: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
  • 2011: Dec.: U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
  • 2009: Visit to Djibouti of Deputy Secretary of State James Steinburg.
  • 2007: Visit to Djibouti of Jendayi Fraser, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. 2014: Jan: Visit of Assistant Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
  • 2014: March: Visit of H.E. Susan Rice, National Security Advisor to President Obama.
  • 2013, 2014 and 2015: Visits of general David Rodriguez, Commander of Africom. 2014: June: Visit of the General Administrator of USAID, Rajeev Shah.
  • 2014: H.E. President Ismail Omar Guelleh participated at the 1st United States-Africa Leaders’ Summit, hosted by President Barack Obama and held in Washington, DC from August 4 – 6, 2014. President Guelleh made a speech at this event on security and stability in Africa.
  • 2014: July: Visit of the U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
  • 2015: May 6: Visit for the first time of a Secretary of State of the United States of America, John Kerry.

Agreements, Programs and Forum

Since the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 1977, the Republic of Djibouti signed around 50 agreements and MOU (memorandum of understanding with the United States). Since the year 2003, a hinge year and a turning point in Djibouti-US relations, more than 20 bilateral agreements have been signed relating to civil, judicial and military cooperations and the installation of the American forces on our territory.

Among these agreements, we can quote the following:

  • 1985: Agreement in the field of security and Amendment.
  • 1984: General Agreement for special assistance for development.
  • 2014-May: Plan to implement the Agreement on U.S. Access to facilities in the territory of Djibouti.
  • Djibouti is eligible to the AGOA Program and recently to the initiative Power Africa.
  • 2016-Feb.: The 2nd Djibouti-US Binational Forum was held in Djibouti.
  • 2003: Agreement concerning access to the American military to facilities located in the territory of the Republic of Djibouti.
  • 2003-Sept.: Agreement of Cooperation between the Republic of Djibouti and the United States of Americas in the field of communication, which gave way to the installation of ‘Voice of America’ Radio Sawa.
  • 2005-Feb.: Agreement of the program ‘SAFE SKY’ with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) promoting transportation safety.
  • 2014: Project to support education and vocational training to strengthen employment in Djibouti. This project was announced during President Guelleh’s visit in Washington, DC. In addition, a partnership program with the State of Kentucky as well as the Law Djibouti first was announced on that occasion
  • 2015-Feb.: The first Djibouti-US Binational Forum was held in February 2015 in Washington, DC. This forum is a framework for a unique discussion of its kind because Djibouti is one of only two African countries to benefit from it, which reflect the importance of the relations that bind Djibouti and the United States.