The United States established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Djibouti in 1977, following its independence from France, and had consular representation in the former colony of French Somaliland since 1929. Since independence, Djibouti has had two presidents: Hassan Gouled Aptidon, first elected in 1977 and ruled for 22 years until 1999, when the current president, Ismail Omar Guelleh, was elected. The country had a single legal party from 1981 to 1992. Additional political parties became legal and formed beginning in 1992. The country’s nearly decade-long internal conflict between the government and a rebel group officially ended in 2001.
Djibouti is located at a strategic point in the Horn of Africa and is a key U.S. partner on security, regional stability, and humanitarian efforts in the greater Horn. The Djiboutian government has been supportive of U.S. interests and takes a proactive position against terrorism. Djibouti hosts a U.S. military presence at Camp Lemonnier, a former French Foreign Legion base in the capital. The U.S. military also has access to port facilities and the airport by a bilateral agreement.
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Food for Peace program maintains a warehouse for pre-positioned food assistance commodities in Djibouti, serving as a hub for rapid response in parts of Africa and Asia. International Broadcasting Bureau facilities in Djibouti transmit Arabic-language programming, and Voice of America Somali Service broadcasts to the Horn and the Arabian Peninsula. Read at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5482.htm