The newly-independent African republic of Djibouti was officially admitted as a full member of the Arab League in Cairo on Sunday (4 September).
The newly-independent African republic of Djibouti was officially admitted as a full member of the Arab League in Cairo on Sunday (4 September). Djibouti, the former French territory of the Afars and the Issas, became the league's 22nd member.
Djibouti is also threatened with intervention from Ethiopia and Somalia -- Somalia claims Djibouti as part of "Greater Somalia" while 70 percent of Ethiopia's trade passes through Djibouti.
SYNOPSIS: The decision to admit Djibouti was taken at a meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers during a league council meeting. It was also decided to delay the application of the Comoro islands, pending further investigation.
The council received Djibouti's official application for membership just over two months ago. Arabic is to be the official language of the country, and that fulfils one of the main criteria for league membership.
Djibouti's Foreign Minister, Mr. Abdul Kamel, represented his government, which is hoping the Arab states will extend financial aid and expertise to the new republic. Djibouti has also been admitted to the Organisation of African Unity.
The head of the Foreign Ministers session of the League, Prince Saud El Fasal, welcomed the new member and formally invited Djibouti to take its seat for the first time.
Djibouti is Africa's 49th state -- and probably one of its poorest. Recent surveys show that the average cash income of the quarter million residents is less than $50 U.S. a year. But the barren territory is of great importance to the Arab states and world superpowers because of its strategic position. It's located on the western shore of the Bab el Mandeb strait which links the Red Sea and Indian Ocean.
Djibouti was France's last colony in Africa before it gained independence in June. Bit French aid is definitely necessary to keep the country going. France pays for Djibouti's deficit -- now standing at $36 million U.S. a year. The French ruled for 117 years and still keeps some troops there. They have also promised further aid, as has Saudi Arabia.