Somalia Minister for Civil Aviation, Mohamed Abdullahi Salad, disclosed that full control and management of ‘Somalia’ airspace from Mogadishu is only about two weeks away.
The Minister, speaking to the Voice of America, Somali Service, today, revealed that installation and testing of equipment to control and monitor Somalia airspace was near completion.
“We expect,” he said, “to hold an inauguration ceremony for the full takeover of Somali airspace control from Mogadishu on the 28th of December”.
The Minister, currently on an unofficial visit to his erstwhile home, Edmonton, Canada, where he lived as an immigrant previously, announced that Somalia shall for the first time since 1991 be able to administer aviation matters from Mogadishu, the seat of the Federal Government of Somalia.
The Minister established that the Flight Information Services office presently stationed in Nairobi, Kenya, will completely move over to Mogadishu from mid-January 2018, and that equipment currently installed at the Nairobi FISS office will be dismantled and installed at other ‘Somalia’ aviation centers by March 2018.
Minister Salad stated that his ministry finally signed office relocation agreement with ICAO in September this year following other visits he and his predecessors at the Aviation helm made to Montreal, the HQ of the International Civil Aviation Office (ICAO), the last of which was in May earlier in the year.
The Minister completely ignored the issue of Somaliland airspace claims as a sovereign republic practically independent of Federal Somalia (since 1991) and the agreement the two sides – Somaliland and Somalia – reached on the issue in 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey, signing the Istanbul II Communique (see attached). Neither did the VOA choose to ask.
The Minister, in line with the views of his government, sees Somaliland as part and parcel of Somalia despite the fact that the latter had nothing to do with Mogadishu for 27 years. Somaliland although not diplomatically recognized by the international community, is a de facto government thus treated by the outside world with its own Constitution, flag, currency, passport and fully functional government organs which helped establish the country’s commendable achievements in democracy, peace and stability which starkly contrast the political conundrum that characterizes enigmatic Somalia.
It remains to be seen what steps the new government under president Musa Behi takes to ensure that Somaliland airspace does not fall under Somalia manipulation.
Somaliland aviation matters now fall under an autonomous agency newly established by a parliamentary act, the Somaliland Aviation Authority, headed by a veteran ex-commercial airliner pilot, Captain Abdi Rodol.