By Mohammed Taha Tewekel
ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian government on Saturday received nine new vessels worth over $300 million from China at a ceremony organized in Djibouti.
“The vessels are not only Ethiopian assets but they are also Djibouti’s properties,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said at the ceremony.
“The vessels indicate the rapid development in Ethiopia,” he added.
Named after the capital cities of Ethiopia’s regional states, the vessels were built with loans from the Chinese government.
Most of Ethiopia’s exports and imports are transported through the Port of Djibouti, which is located 900km east of Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
“Djibouti benefits from Ethiopia’s rapid development and in turn Djibouti’s growth is an advantage to Ethiopia,” Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh told the ceremony.
“The relation between Ethiopia and Djibouti is not limited to a government-to-government level but it has been intensified in people-to-people ties,” he said.
The Djiboutian leader went on to say that relations between the two neighbors are boosting in different spheres, including the economic and social fields.
“Djibouti gives a port service to Ethiopia but it does not consider that it is giving the service to another country but regards it as it is doing it for itself,” he said.
“We believe that Ethiopia is Djibouti and Djibouti is Ethiopia, no difference at all,” he added, going on to reiterate that the new vessels will further help speed up the ongoing development endeavors in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia had used Eritrean ports until 1998 when the two countries engaged in a war of their border disputes.
Following the war, Ethiopian began to use Djibouti ports to export its products.