Comoros - Foreign Relations
In November 1975, Comoros became the 143rd member of the United Nations. The new nation was defined at that time as consisting of the entire archipelago, despite the fact that France maintains control over Mayotte. The Anjouan secession crisis subsided after the August 2000 signing of the "Fomboni Declaration of National Unity" by Azali and separatist leader Lieutenant Colonel Said Abeid. The Fomboni Declaration provides for a loose confederation between the islands, giving each island the ability to maintain an army and conduct its own foreign relations.
Comoros is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, the European Development Fund, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the International Labor Organization, the World Health Organization, the Indian Ocean Commission, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the African Development Bank.
Although in disagreement on the issue of the island of Mayotte, to which each country claims sovereignty, France and Comoros remain key partners, as attested by the very many citizens with dual nationality.
In 2007, France and Comoros established a High-Level Working Group (HLWG) tasked with preparing an agreement on the integration of Mayotte into its geographical environment. Work has been progressing by fits and starts because of the political context (the referendum on the department status of Mayotte on 29 March 2009 strained relations for a while and political changes on both sides in 2011 and 2012 also have slowed down the process), but not without result.
President Ikililou Dhoinine (in office until May 2016) renewed dialogue. On 21 June 2013, the President of the French Republic and his counterpart signed a “Paris declaration on friendship and cooperation between France and Comoros” to revive the bilateral relationship through cooperation in several areas (including migration and shipwrecks). A strengthened political dialogue was opened with the creation of a “High Joint Council” (HCP), which met in Paris in November 2013, November 2014 and on 10 July 2015. The year 2016 was marked by the appointment on 15 July of Mr Hamada Madi Bolero from Comoros to the position of Secretary-General of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) to replace Mr Jean-Claude de l’Estrac from Mauritius, while France took over from Madagascar on 26 February as Chair of the Organization.
In 2015, trade between France and Comoros was up by €6 million compared to the previous year, to almost €33.4 million in French exports to Comoros and more than €6 million in imports. The Bank of France estimated the French investment stock in Comoros at €2 million, an amount identical to that of Comorian investment in France. Migrant remittances to Comoros are substantial, accounting for about 23% of GDP.
The United States recognized the Comoran Government in 1977. The two countries enjoy friendly relations. The U.S. closed its Embassy in Moroni in 1993 and is now represented by a nonresident Ambassador in neighboring Madagascar.
Officials from the Union of Comoros and United States signed an Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement 06 July 2014 in Kandani, the Comoran National Army of Development (Armée nationale de développement, AND) headquarters, to increase flexibility of military exchanges. “Comoros becomes the 100th nation and 20th African nation to sign such an agreement,” Krongard said prior to the signing. “This agreement will make military-to-military exchanges of logistics, support, supplies and services much easier to carry out.” U.S. Africa Command and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa will now have the authority and ability to more effectively work with the Comoran military.
“U.S. and Comoran commanders and their forces will now have greater flexibility for exercises and training as as well as responding to emergencies and other unforeseen contingencies,” Krongard said. “It is a very important step as we expand the relationship between our two countries and our two militaries.” The ACSA allows for support to: combined exercises, contingency and wartime operations, exigent circumstances, humanitarian and foreign disaster relief, peacekeeping operations, and training requirements.
Specific items authorized for exchange by replacement in kind, equal value exchange, or exchanges through cash, include: Base operations support, billeting, communication, calibration, medical services, port services, maintenance, storage, training, clothing, transportation, ammunition, food and water, petroleum, oil, lubricants, spare parts and components not covered by Foreign Military Sales.
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