Foreign policy and defense
Based on geographical map from Digopaul, Comoros is a nation in Eastern Africa. Its capital city is Moroni. Comoros’ relations with the old colonial power of France are complicated. France is the country’s largest donor and trading partner. At the same time, the question of the status of the French island of Mayotte has disturbed relations.
Geographically, Mayotte belongs to the Comoros archipelago, but ever since independence from France in 1975, the majority of Mayotte’s population has wanted to remain part of France rather than join the Comoros. The Comoros, however, claim to be the neighbor island, where the residents generally have a better position than the Comoros. The Comorian politicians want to integrate Mayotte with the Comoros and when Mayotte’s residents voted in a referendum in 2000 to agree more firmly to France, the decision was condemned by the neighboring country. In 2011, Mayotte took the final step closer to the mother country by becoming a French department, that is, a fully integrated part of France. However, the Comoros have benefited from the proximity to the economically more developed Mayotte and have in practice often been low on the issue.
- Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Comoros for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Nor does the African Union Regional Cooperation Organization (AU) recognize Mayotte’s current status.
Under the moderate Islamist Union President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi (2006–2001), the Comoros’ contacts with the Muslim countries increased, not least Iran, which promised significant financial support. Sambi also sought to expand contacts with other potential investors and donors abroad. In 2010, he received pledges of extensive assistance at an Arab donor conference in Qatar. Previously, Dubai and Kuwait, among others, had announced major investments in the Comoros.
Increased tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia from the end of 2015 led to the Comoros breaking diplomatic relations with Iran in early 2016.
The African Union (AU) and its predecessor OAU have repeatedly mediated between the central government and separatists on the three islands, but the AU, like other aid donors, has tired of the Comoros’ constant political struggles. In February 2008, the AU nevertheless decided to support the central government’s plans to overthrow a rebel regime on the island of Anjouan. The AU hoped to gain prestige in the outside world with an intervention that had every chance to succeed, unlike previous attempts to broker peace in Sudan and Somalia. However, South Africa’s then-president Thabo Mbeki wanted in the long run to mediate between the Comoros central government and the coup regime on Anjouan. Mbeki thus delayed the intervention, which was finally implemented in March 2008 after clear signs from France and the United States. However, it was criticized by Mbeki,
Assistance and investment from China are still relatively small but are expected to increase as China advances its positions throughout Africa. However, the Comoros’ lack of raw materials makes the country relatively unattractive to China.
The Comorian defense force comprises about 1,000 men. It is a political power factor and has been involved in several coups. At the same time, the military has not succeeded in preventing foreign lego nectars from carrying out coups (see Modern History). A number of countries provide military equipment and training to the Comoros, including the United States, France and China.
New President assumes office
Moderate Islamist businessman Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi takes over as president after a major election victory that month. The change of presidential post is the first peaceful change of power in the Comoros since the country’s independence from colonial power France 1975.