Somaliland: SFG Claims Total Airspace Control

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icao agree 3

By: Yusuf M Hasan

Somalilandsun – The Somalia Federal Government-SFG shall assume full control of Somaliland’s airspace as from 1st January 2014.

 This development follows an agreement signed between The International Civil Aviation Organization-ICAO and SFG during the recent ICAO 2013 triennium meeting in Montreal.

In the agreement (See below) whose signatories are Ivan Galan and Abdilahi Elmoge Hirsi for ICAO and SFG respectively also gives the Mogadishu government funds accrued by ICAO and subsequent authority to disburse them to regional governments including Somaliland.

This move by ICAO is a follow up of the UN its parent organization that saw the UNDP hand over the same airspace to the SFG earlier this year resulting in the banning of the UN managed UNHAS flights to Somaliland.

The acrimony of the airspace management authority transfer to the SFG and Subsequent banning of UN flights saw successful conclusion after negotiations between senior officials from Somaliland and the UN.

The end to the ban through discussions was expedited by concerns raised not only by the UN but other stakeholders like the US as well.

At the same time Somaliland’s airspace was the main topic during phase III of internationally sanctioned talks between Somaliland and Somalia in Istanbul Turkey from 7th-9th July 2013

The two countries under the watchful eye of Turkey officials Agreed to establish a bilateral control body in Hargeisa to jointly manage the air traffic control of both sides, and to create a mechanism for equitable revenue-sharing.

According to the terms of the agreement a technical committee, comprised of officials from both sides of the table, to jointly-administer Somaliland and Somalia’s airspace after receiving full control from The United Nations. The Technical Committee will base its office in Hargeisa, Somaliland; and, are expected to have an equal revenue-sharing scheme.

This agreement yet to see the light of day even as resumed talks are slated to resume early November 2013 in Turkey saw the UN and UK applaud it as a good move and a model for future cooperation between the two formerly united countries that separated in 1991 after a protracted civil war.

The UK Government welcomed the agreement reached between Somaliland and Somalia on the joint-technical committee responsible for administering both nations airspace terming it “A constructive approach that helps everyone.” Said the UK envoy to Somalia Ambassador Neil Wigan after the agreement signing in Turkey

“The agreement on shared management of airspace between Somaliland and Somalia has been termed as good model for future cooperation between the two countries” Nicholas Kay, the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia, said during a briefing to the UN Security Council on the Secretary-General’s most recent report on the situation in Somalia in September.

With ICAO which has managed the air traffic control since collapse of the Somali republic in 1991 colluding to hand over management of Somaliland’s airspace to its nemesis of the SFG in Mogadishu which is a flagrant breach of talks accords the fate of forthcoming dialogue in turkey are very bleak.

Signed ICAO SFG Agreement

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