Foreign policy and defense
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.
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.