Friday, July 19, 2013

■ SOMALIA: Somaliland lifts UN flights ban after Turkish brokered talks resolve impasse with Mogadishu.

Turkey has successfully brokered an agreement following talks between the autonomous, yet internationally unrecognised, state of Somaliland and Somalia in which United Nations aircraft will once more be allowed to resume transiting Somaliland airspace and airports, effective July 15. Mr Mahmoud Abdi Hashi, Somaliland's Minister of Civil Aviation and Air Transport, made the announcement in Hargeisa.

WFP ops at Hargeisa airport
WFP ops at Hargeisa airport (sabahionline)
The dispute arose after the Civil Aviation Caretaker Authority for Somalia (CACAS) handed over control of Somalia's skies to its fledgling civil aviation authority in mid May, leading Somaliland to revoke all landing rights to United Nations' aircraft. 

Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, had objected to the move on the grounds that it would entitle Mogadishu to all transitory fees irrespective of where the aircraft operated, thereby depriving it of revenue.

The SomalilandPress quotes Mr Hashi as saying the ban had been lifted after an agreement was reached by Somaliland and Somalia during talks held in Turkey earlier this month.
The government of Somaliland decision to lift the ban on UN flights came after both sides agreed to setup a committee which will be tasked with running the airspace of both Somalia and Somaliland which will be based in Hargeisa and the return of the controlling of the airspace from the UN,” he said.
Under the agreement, a joint body will be established to manage the two parties' respective airspaces with a view of equitably sharing all revenues. In addition, the Mogadishu control centre, currently located in Nairobi and tasked with controlling both Somaliland's and Somalia's airspace, will be relocated to Hargeisa. In return, the Somali Government will have the power to appoint the head of the joint body.