President Hassan of Djibouti, who has been in Paris for talks with French leaders, said on Thursday (27 April) that he expected the strategic railway between the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa and his country to be reopened within the next few months.
GV PAN: President Hassan Gouled of Djibouti finishes inspecting guard and enters Elysee Palace to be met by President Giscard d'Estaing in doorway.
SV: French flag on Elysee Palace.
GV: Giscard bids farewell to Gouled who walks toward newsmen. (2 SHOTS)
SV: Gouled speaking in French.
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Background: President Hassan of Djibouti, who has been in Paris for talks with French leaders, said on Thursday (27 April) that he expected the strategic railway between the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa and his country to be reopened within the next few months.
SYNOPSIS: President Gouled went to the Elysee Palace where, after inspecting the guard he met the French President, M. Valery Giscard d'Estaing for talks. He also saw Prime Minister M. Raymond Barre during his trip. He was due to fly home on Friday (28 April) for talks on development of Djibouti's port facilities.
President Gouled discussed his country's economic situation with the French leaders. Later he told reporters that the opening of the Addis-Djibouti railway line would take two to three months. The line, cut last year by pro-Somali guerrillas fighting the Ethiopian government, brought valuable trade to Djibouti, a former French colony which largely depends on its port for economic survival.
President Gouled said his country's economic plight had been worsened by the influx of refugees from the Ethiopian fighting. He said that, officially, there were about 12,000 refugees in Djibouti, but another 8,000 more were scattered throughout the country, living with families. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees was helping his country to cope with the extra burden.