President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with President Guelleh of Djibouti

President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with President Guelleh of Djibouti


President Obama: I want to
welcome President Guelleh and his delegation
here today. I had an opportunity to
visit Djibouti when I was a senator, before I was
elected President, and saw firsthand the
importance of U.S. cooperation with
Djibouti. Obviously, Camp Lemonnier
is extraordinarily important not only to our
work throughout the Horn of Africa but
throughout the region. And we very much
appreciate the hospitality that the Djiboutians
provide, but we also are very
appreciative of the opportunity to meet with the President here
today and to deepen this relationship further. Today we’ll be discussing
a wide range of issues. In addition to our
security cooperation, we’re deeply interested in
working with the President around development and
issues of being able to expand education and
health care work that we’re already doing
with the government of Djibouti. We’re extremely interested
in regional issues and we want to say how much we
appreciate the work that Djibouti has done through
AMISOM in Somalia, an area where there have been
continuing growing threats not only to the Somali
people but al-Shabaab obviously has carried out
operations throughout East Africa and there’s a
significant presence of soldiers from Djibouti who
are participating in the multinational force that
has been able to push back al-Shabaab’s control over
large portions of Somalia. Today, in addition to
announcing the long-term lease that we are signing
with Djibouti, we also hope that we can discuss the Africa Leaders Summit that
I’ll be hosting this year. We appreciate the
President’s participating and we’re going to be
looking at his advice on a range of issues that we
can work on together. And we’re going to
continue to engage with the government of Djibouti
around issues related to human rights
in the region. Human trafficking
continues to be a concern. There is an action plan
that the government of Djibouti has put in place
and we want to find ways in which we can assist
in implementing. So, overall, this is a
critical facility that we maintain in Djibouti. We could not do it
without the President’s cooperation. We’re grateful for him
agreeing for a long-term presence there. We look forward to
deepening cooperation that benefits the people of
Djibouti as well as the people of the United
States of America. Welcome. Thank you. President Guelleh: (As
interpreted.) Mr. President,
thank you very much. I’m very happy to be in
Washington, D.C., today, and I thank you for the
warm welcome that you have extended to me
and my delegation. I’d very much like to
achieve reinforced relations between Djibouti
and the United States. And I would like to thank
President Obama once more for having shown such
a willingness to receive us here. As the President of
Djibouti, I also would like to say that
our relation is a relation of strategic partnership. And I not only thank the
President for that, but also for everything the
President is doing — his cooperation in terms of
development, our political develop — our
development policy. And Djibouti is very much helped by the President in terms
of, as he said himself, health care education — and
especially, in our case, food security. And I think that what’s
important here is that the President has a vision. He has a vision for the
development of Africa and in general, and for our
region in particular. And I thank you for that
vision, Mr. President. The fact that we
welcome the U.S. forces in our country
show our support for international peace and
for peace in our region as well. As you know, Djibouti is
not only taking part in AMISOM, but we are also
present in Darfur, Côte d’Ivoire, Western Sahara,
and soon enough in the Central African Republic. We do that all for peace
in the world and for peace in Africa. So I am very happy to be
here today to continue to reinforce our partnership
and our relationship. President Obama:
Thank you, everybody.

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