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Djibouti’s former PM gets Japanese award

Dileita Mohamed Dileita, former prime minister of the Republic of Djibouti, was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government for his contributions to strengthening bilateral ties and his cooperation in Japan’s antipiracy measures in the Horn of Africa country, where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden.

The order was established in 1875 and features rays emerging from the sun. It has been given to citizens and non-Japanese nationals for distinguished achievements, such as in international relations.

Dileita, who visited Japan at the invitation of the Japanese government, was presented with the award at the Imperial Palace on Nov. 6, which was followed by a reception in a hotel in Tokyo organized by the Embassy of Djibouti on the same date.

Born in 1958, Dileita worked as a diplomat, including as No. 2 at the Djibouti Embassy in France in the early 1990s and ambassador to Ethiopia, as well as Djibouti’s representative at the Organization of African Unity from 1997 to 2000, where he assisted in the peace talks between Ethiopia and Eritrea. In 2001, Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh appointed Dileita as prime minister, a post he occupied until the end of March.

In a speech at the reception, Dileita said that Japan is present in Djibouti at all levels: the Japanese Embassy in terms of diplomatic and political representation; the Japan International Cooperation Agency to support economic and social development; young people from the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers; and the Maritime Self-Defense Force in the ongoing fight against piracy, which is the only Japanese overseas military base since World War II.

“I sincerely invite you to take a closer look at Djibouti, and encourage your companies to become involved in the political, strategic and economic dynamics,” Dileita said, and emphasized the importance of Djibouti as a regional hub and platform offering services to all countries in the region, and attracting investors from around the world.

During the reception, Djiboutian Ambassador Ahmed Araita Ali extended his congratulations to the former prime minster and introduced his new role as a member of the high-level panel of the African Union to Egypt. Zimbabwe Ambassador Stuart Comberbach, who serves as the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in Japan, said the prestigious award is “to the continent of Africa and to the people of Africa as a whole.”

“I am glad that Japan’s relations are not based on national interests; it is a friendship from the heart with us,” Dileita said.