ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Djibouti is escalating a dispute with global port operator DP World by nationalizing the majority shares in the Doraleh Container Terminal.

Djibouti in February seized the terminal run by the Dubai-based company, saying the contract hurt the country's ability to control a key infrastructure asset. DP World then went to the London Court of International Arbitration.

Djibouti's government on Monday says its president has ordered the nationalization of majority shares "to protect the fundamental interests of the nation and the legitimate interests of its partners."

The statement says DP World now can deal with Djibouti's government alone on the joint venture issue.

Djibouti has a geostrategic location near Bab el-Mandeb, an entryway to the Red Sea for ships from Asia and oil tankers from Arab Gulf countries heading to Europe.