By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The government of Somaliland has dispatched three officials to Istanbul Turkey as part of its technical team on the establishment of a joint Air Traffic Control Board with neigbouring Somalia.
The Somaliland technical team which left the country via Egal International Airport is made up of Aviation and air transport minister Mahmud Abdi Hashi and two senior aviation experts in the ministry Mr. Saeed Mahdi Ileeye ‘Sakiro and Mahmud Bihi Tarwale.
The trio is going to Turkey in pursuit of fulfilling article 8 of the Istanbul II Communiqué which resulted from fifth phase of internationally sanctioned talks between Somaliland and Somalia that were held in Istanbul from 18th to 19th January 2014.
Article 8 of the 9 points Istanbul II Communiqué which necessitates the current aviation officials to Turkey reads “The parties agreed to appoint an ad-hoc technical committee composed of 4 members, ( two from each party) to prepare the terms of reference of the Air Traffic Control Board. The Technical Committee work will be supervised by the respective two Ministers”
Article 8 of Istanbul II was in Reference to the Communiqué of the two parties Dialogue (Somaliland and Somalia) on 7-9/July 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey where the parties had agreed to nominate Air Traffic Control Board to establish within 45 days.
Revelations of the upcoming technical committee meetings by officials representing the Hargeisa and Mogadishu governments was through a press statement released by the Somaliland government and signed by the Director General ministry of Aviation Omar Abdilahi Aden.
Below are the verbatim excerpts of the Aviation ministry DG press statement.
Quote – The Ministry of Aviatio0n and Air Transport hereby informs that a delegation dispatched by the Somaliland government has departed for Istanbul Turkey to take establish terms of reference of a joint Air Traffic Control Board with Somalia.
The Three member team is led by the Somaliland minister of Aviation and air transport Mahmud Abdi Hashi and includes two aviation experts from the ministry namely Mr. Saeed Mahdi Ileeye ‘Sakiro and Mahmud Bihi Tarwale.
While in Turkey the ministry of aviation officials who form the Somaliland technical committee shall meet and engage compatriots from Somalia on preparation of the terms of reference for the establishment of a joint Air Traffic Control Board with Somalia as per article 8 of the Istanbul II Communiqué.
The Ministry of Aviation and Air Transport shall provide the public and media houses with regular updates of discussion progress and subsequent agreements reached during the meetings in Turkey-Unquote
The creation of a joint Air Traffic Control Board which was first mooted during the fourth phase of talks between Somaliland and Somalia in Turkey on 7-9/July 2013 came after the government of Somaliland banned all UN operated flights to and From Somaliland following announcement that the UNDP has transferred management of Somaliland’s air traffic to the Somalia Federal Government in Mogadishu with effect from 1st5 January 2014.
Though the SFG had dilly dallied on the joint body to be headquartered in Hargeisa the capital of Somaliland the departure of the aviation officials to Turkey is an indication that the Mogadishu authorities have finally succumbed to International norms of fulfilling obligations emanating from any bi-lateral agreements between two independent countries.