US-Djibouti talks focus on Somalia, security: Official

ADDIS ABABA – Talks between U.S. President Barack Obama and Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh on Monday were dominated by the situation in Somalia and other regional security issues, a Djiboutian presidential spokesman said Tuesday.

During the Monday meeting, the two leaders acknowledged that bilateral relations had recently grown, spokesman Najib Ali Tahir told Anadolu Agency by phone Tuesday.

"Particularly, the military and security cooperation between the two countries has grown in recent years," Tahir said.

The two sides, however, both recognized the need to further strengthen strategic ties, he added.

"Guelleh and Obama discussed… the situation in Somalia and terrorism," Tahir noted, adding that Obama had commended Djibouti for cooperating with the U.S. in the fight against terrorism and piracy in the Horn of Africa region.

The U.S. and Djibouti are expected to sign a deal that would allow the U.S. to open a permanent military camp in Djibouti.

"Guelleh said the agreement would be a testimony to Djibouti's stance for world peace," the spokesman said.

Djibouti has long been a strategic partner to the U.S. and the country currently hosts the largest U.S. military camp in Africa.

During his stay in the United States, Guelleh is scheduled to meet with senior government officials, including U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

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