Saturday, April 13, 2013

■ ETHIOPIA: Qatar, Ethiopia sign BASA paving the way for possible Doha - Addis Ababa flights.

Qatar flag
EthiopiaEthiopia and Qatar have taken a significant step in repairing relations, broken off in April 2008 over alleged news bias against Addis Ababa by Qatar's Al Jazeera TV, with the signing of "various" agreements, among them an air services agreement (BASA) on 10 April following the conclusion of bilateral talks between the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn. 

The Ethiopia Qatar BASA signing ceremony in Addis Ababa
The signing ceremony in Addis Ababa
According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Air Services Agreement "will allow the two countries to start to start direct air links," though how willing Ethiopia is to open its airspace to yet another Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways (QR), is uncertain.

The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA), who are responsible for the granting of landing rights, are currently embroiled in a standoff with Etihad Airways (EY) after Etihad, in late October, angrily announced the indefinite postponement of its inaugural Abu Dhabi - Addis Ababa flight, set to have begun on 2 November 2012, claiming the ECAA had rejected the airline’s application for the required operating permit, despite the existence of a Memorandum of Understanding concluded by the governments of Ethiopia and Abu Dhabi in June 2007.

An agreement pertaining to the Reciprocal Protection of Sustainable Investment will also foster closer economic ties between Doha and Addis Ababa, a growing regional power both economically and militarily.