Djibouti, April 11, 2018 – Since early April 2018, DP World has circulated a press release in which it challenges both the effectiveness and the lawfulness of the Republic of Djibouti’s termination of the concession agreement relating to the operation of the Doraleh container terminal. This concession agreement was entered into in 2006 with Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT), of which DP World is a shareholder.
In its press release, DP World threatens to take legal action against any company that may enter into a new contract with the Republic of Djibouti with respect to a stake in the Doraleh container terminal.
The Republic of Djibouti intends firmly to oppose the threats and falsehoods asserted by DP World in its press release.
The concession agreement with DCT was terminated at the term of a transparent legal process, and contrary to DP World’s allegations, DCT can no longer claim to be entitled to any concession rights under the contract in question.
The Government of Djibouti notes with deep regret the position taken by DP World, which continues to jeopardize the superior interests of Djibouti. DP World is plainly unafraid to challenge the sovereign power with which each State is endowed under international law to terminate a contract when the general interest so requires, subject to fair compensation being allocated.
DP World’s position once again shows the contempt that this company holds for the Republic of Djibouti and its people.
What right does DP World have, as a private company, to threaten other companies that wish to enter into commercial relations with the Republic of Djibouti in order to grow their businesses in Djibouti? Evidently, DP World does not hesitate to flagrantly interfere with such companies’ economic freedom. Moreover, it is worth emphasizing the fact that these threats are frivolous and lack any legal basis with respect to third-party companies that are unconnected with the Republic of Djibouti’s decision to terminate and against which the exclusivity clause referred to by DP World has never been enforceable.
In this regard, contrary to the views of DP World, the termination of the concession agreement for the Doraleh container terminal is effective and perfectly lawful. Indeed, the decision to terminate was made on the basis of a law passed by Parliament on November 8, 2017 and a decree issued by the President of the Republic of Djibouti on February 22, 2018. Both actions are consistent with international norms and follow attempts to renegotiate the concession that were unsuccessful because of the repeated and inexplicable refusals on the part of DP World to hear the legitimate requests of the Republic of Djibouti.
Furthermore, despite DP World’s assertions, the Republic of Djibouti has not based it decision to terminate the Doraleh container terminal concession agreement on illegal grounds but rather on public interest grounds.
The Republic of Djibouti has determined that the performance of the contract in question has proven to be adverse to the superior interests of the Nation and that it is manifestly prejudicial to the country’s development imperatives, to its need to control its infrastructure and to its people’s security of supply. DP World attempts, rather clumsily, to characterize the situation as a simple divergence in financial interests by emphasizing that “the concession agreement has been greatly advantageous for Djibouti”.
Once again, this demonstrates that DP World makes light of the superior interests of a State and appears to think that the only interests worthy of pursuit are financial interests, even at the expense of the development of an entire nation and an entire region.
The Republic of Djibouti could never be satisfied with revenues generated by the operation of strategic services or infrastructure – as important as such revenues may be – while economic growth and improvement in the living standards of the population are threatened.
To conclude, the Republic of Djibouti wishes to reaffirm its intention to facilitate the development of the country and the well-being of its people. It emphasizes, likewise, that international investors, public and private partners, and nation friends are welcome to come to Djibouti for the purpose of infrastructure development.
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