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Djibouti refuses to establish ties with Israel until it makes peace with Palestine

President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 10 February 2020 [Mınasse Wondımu Haılu/Anadolu Agency]
President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 10 February 2020 [Mınasse Wondımu Haılu/Anadolu Agency]

Djibouti will not establish official ties with Israel until it works towards peace with the Palestinians, said the African Muslim state's President Ismail Omar Guelleh.

In September, Palestinian minister Ahmad Majdalani said that Djibouti was one of the five other Muslim-majority countries along with Oman, Sudan, Comoros and Mauritania to be in talks with Israel to normalise relations.

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan were the first Arab nations to establish relations with Israel since Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

The Palestinian leadership condemned the establishment of ties with the occupation as a "treacherous stab to the Palestinian cause".

In an interview with French publication the Africa Report this week, Guelleh said that "the conditions aren't ripe".

We take issue with the Israeli government because they're denying Palestinians their inalienable rights

he said. "All we ask that the government do is make one gesture of peace, and we will make 10 in return. But I'm afraid they'll never do that."

He noted that the East African country has no problem with Jews as a people or Israelis as a nation.

"Some of them even come to Djibouti on business with their passport, and Djibouti's citizens have been able to travel to Israel for 25 years now," he explained.

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