Djibouti’s rejection of a London court ruling, which found it illegally seized a port facility from DP World, “demonstrates that it does not recognise the international rule of law”, the Dubai-based ports operator said in a statement.
The statement stems from a long-running dispute between the Horn of Africa country and DP World over the Doraleh container terminal, which was designed and built by DP World, who have run the terminal since 2006.
The company has been accused by Djibouti of under-managing the container terminal in favour of its main port in Dubai. Earlier this year, DP World’s 50-year contract was terminated.
On Thursday, Dubai’s government said the London Court of International Arbitration “confirmed the illegitimacy” of Djibouti’s seizure of the terminal.
The move was swiftly condemned by Djibouti’s presidency, which said “it does not recognise this arbitral award which consists in qualifying the law of a sovereign state as illegal.”
In the DP World statement, the company said that the London court’s decision “is based on recognised principles of international law and is internationally binding both on the Djibouti government and so far as third parties are concerned.”
The statement added that ‘as the court has held, Djibouti does not have sovereignty over a contract governed by English law.”
“It is well established that, in the absence of an express term to that effect, an English law contract cannot be unilaterally terminated at will,” the statement noted. “The contract therefore remains in full force and effect.”
Additionally, DP World said that it believes that the statements from the Djibouti government are contrary to the country’s interests, and that two previous cases brought by the government have been “even handed and fair”.
“In light of that indisputable success [of the terminal] and the fair and reasonable terms of the concession, the government’s attempts to terminate it cannot have anything to do with the fundamental interests of the people of Djibouti.”