As Somaliland refutes alleged assumption of its airspace control by Somalia
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun- With the Turkey hosted international sanctioned talks between Somaliland and Somalia and Somalia having stalled, banter over airspace administration is now being effected at the VOA Somali service.
Representsting the two formerly united countries that parted ways in 1991 at the the on air war of words over airspace control are respective ministers of aviation, Farhan Abdi Haybe in Hargeisa and Mohamed Abdilahi Salaad ‘Omaar’ from Mogadishu respectively.
At an interview with VOA somali service reporter Barkhad Mahmud Kariye in Hargeisa on the 30th Aug 2017, the Somaliland Aviation and air transport minister Farhan Abdi Haybe informed that the country’s airspace is still under control of the International Civil Aviation Organization-ICAO.
The remarks by Minister Farhan were in reaction to the alleged imminent Somaliland airspace management take over revealed by Somalia made by minister ‘Omaar’ his counterpart in Mogadishu a day earlier during an interview with VOAs Harun Maruuf.
“To my informed understanding the Somaliland airspace is still and shall be under ICAO administration until 2018 when current contract of the UN body ends ”
While Minister Farhan was categoric that not an iota of not only airspace but other on his country’s jurisdictional authority can be managed by a foreign power without permission.
In his VOA interview of the 29th Aug 2017, the Somalia aviation minister Mohamed Abdilahi Salaad ‘Omaar’ revealed that come this October, ICAO shall relinguish its mandate in both Somalia and Somaliland.
Said he“As from October 2017 the entire Somalia airspace and including that of Somaliland shall be managed from Mogadishu by ministry”
According to Minister Omaar all arrangements for the said takeover are ongoing and shall be completed latest end of September.
The planning towards Somalia assuming total authority over issues related to aviation an air transport include acquisition and subsequent installation of equipment as well as personnel training.
ICAO has been under, the guise of Civil Aviation Caretaker Authority for Somalia-CACAS administering airspace and related aviation issues for both Somalia and Somaliland for over two decades.
Read: Somaliland – UN-ICAO is Stoking Fires to Prolong the Airspace Controversy with Somalia thence Failure of Turkish hosted Talks
This very burning dispute between the governents in Hargeisa and Mogadishu has been in the Centre stage of the international sanctioned talks between somaliland and Somalia, hosted by Turkey.
Initiated at the London Conferece on Somalia of 2012, the talks that have been stalled for over a year, utilized most of negotiations sessions in the airspace control banter.
Following the 2012 conference in London whose final communique sanctioned the talks, the first face to face official meeting between Somaliland and Somalia take place at London’s Cheveninng house where guidelines for future encounters were put in place.
The next phase hosted the United Arab Emirates took place in Dubai a few months later, this time with participation by the president of Somaliland Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo and his then opposite in Somalia Sheikh Sharif.
Here upon signing the Dubai Declaration, the next phase and subsequent ones were hosted by the governement of Turkey.
The Turkish mediation has ensued, with numerous agreements reached by the two countries negotiators in either Ankara or Istanbul.
Read: Somaliland: SFG Absconds Joint Airspace Management Agreement
Poignant of the Turkish mediated agreements has been airspace control and management in which Somalia has despite signing, subsequently on several occasions refused implementation.
In pursuit of exiting ICAO from administration thence revert it to local ownership after decades, a joint airspace control body was the agreed remedy.
The body to be jointly composed and equally control by Somaliland and Somalia was to have been headquartered in Hargeisa, but unfortunately this is yet to be realized owing to Somalia recanting
While the airspace control saga, is directly and overtly responsible for stalling the talks between the two countries,the issue of official and without acrimony separation of the two countries is covert.
Though the 2012 London communique sanctioning the talks had settlememt of political differences be it final separation of reunion between Somaliland and Somalia, the Turkish mediation failed to facilitate the said.
For Hargeisa and Somalilanders and from day one of talking officially to Somalia since 1991 When it withdrew from its voluntary later fated union, its sovereignty and independence was and is irrevocable thence not for discussion.
While Somalia displayed overt acknowledgment of this condition, covertly and with discernible Turkish support, nothing but ultimate reunification was in the menu for discussions
For the Turks, desire and aggressive pursuit of an ante 1991 Somalia thence Somaliland reunification with Somalia has and still is official policy.
As the airspace dispute rages, Turks continue to mediate it is obvious that the international sanctioned talks between Somaliland and Somalia are not in a temporary stall but actually moribund.