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Djibouti:
Geography

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Background
Definition
The French Territory of the Afars and the Issas became Djibouti in 1977. Hassan Gouled APTIDON installed an authoritarian one-party state and proceeded to serve as president until 1999. Unrest among the Afars minority during the 1990s led to a civil war that ended in 2001 following the conclusion of a peace accord between Afar rebels and the Issa-dominated government. In 1999, Djibouti's first multi-party presidential elections resulted in the election of Ismail Omar GUELLEH; he was re-elected to a second and final term in 2005. Djibouti occupies a strategic geographic location at the mouth of the Red Sea and serves as an important transshipment location for goods entering and leaving the east African highlands. The present leadership favors close ties to France, which maintains a significant military presence in the country, but also has strong ties with the US. Djibouti hosts the only US military base in sub-Saharan Africa and is a front-line state in the global war on terrorism.
Location
Definition
Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, between Eritrea and Somalia
Geographic coordinates
Definition
11 30 N, 43 00 E
Map references
Definition
Africa
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 23,000 sq km
land: 22,980 sq km
water: 20 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Massachusetts
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 516 km
border countries: Eritrea 109 km, Ethiopia 349 km, Somalia 58 km
Coastline
Definition
314 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
desert; torrid, dry
Terrain
Definition
coastal plain and plateau separated by central mountains
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Lac Assal -155 m
highest point: Moussa Ali 2,028 m
Natural resources
Definition
geothermal areas, gold, clay, granite, limestone, marble, salt, diatomite, gypsum, pumice, petroleum
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 0.04%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 99.96% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
10 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
0.3 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 0.02 cu km/yr (84%/0%/16%)
per capita: 25 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
earthquakes; droughts; occasional cyclonic disturbances from the Indian Ocean bring heavy rains and flash floods
Environment - current issues
Definition
inadequate supplies of potable water; limited arable land; desertification; endangered species
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
strategic location near world's busiest shipping lanes and close to Arabian oilfields; terminus of rail traffic into Ethiopia; mostly wasteland; Lac Assal (Lake Assal) is the lowest point in Africa


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