A Somalia delegation led by Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Salad of Aviation is currently in Montreal, HQ of the International Civil Aviation organization (ICAO), to sign full handover of Somali airspace, including that of the Republic of Somaliland, to his government.
Mr. Salad met with the Secretary General of the organization, Dr. Fang Liu, and a technical team supporting her.
During that meeting, ICAO signed with the visiting delegation an MOU outlining the schedule of transfer of airspace control to Somalia and the transfer of operations from FISS in Nairobi to Mogadishu.
According to Minister Salad, the transfer, upgraded training of technical staff and other necessary capacity building to be given the ministry and its staff, which has a component on supply of requisite equipment not presently in the hands of Somalia, will begin as soon as October and would be completed by December 2017.
“The transfer of control and operations to Mogadishu will be effected long before the end of the year,” Minister Salad said speaking at the venue where the first of 2 documents was signed on Wednesday, yesterday.
“We already decided to transfer FISS (operations) in Nairobi to Mogadishu,” Dr. Liu Said.
In that meeting, the two sides agreed that airspace control will be jointly managed and that the head office of the to-be-formed aviation body will be based in Hargeisa, the Republic of Somaliland.
Soon after, Somalia started moving mountains to reverse that decision.
Prior to this latest meeting, Minister Salad reached an understanding with FISS officials based in Nairobi, with the full knowledge and blessing of an ICAO that had already mellowed down to Somalia’s stand as that view had never been credibly challenged by Somaliland.
Since 2014, during the era Mohamoud Hashi led the Ministry, the Somaliland ministry of Aviation, did not mount up any discernible effort to bring the issue to a national and international limelight in order to drum up support for the joint airspace administration proposal.
Minister Hashi sent one of the strongest phrased messages to MOGADISHU and ICAO – and they took notice.
Montreal and the signature put on transfer of full control of airspace on 13 September seals the coffin on Istanbul II Communique and the frequent, unconvincing denials of Somaliland officials on the ongoing collusion process jointly led by Somalia and ICAO.
It was only ten days ago, 30 August, that the Somaliland Minister for Aviation, Farhan Adan Haibeh, assured Somalilanders that Somalia will never assume control of Somaliland Airspace. This was preceded by another press release on 29 August 2017 that categorically denied the probability of full transfer of airspace management to Mogadishu. On both occasions, the Somaliland ministry of Aviation blindly insisted that ICAO had no intention of transferring airspace control to Mogadishu as if it was conversant of the situation – which, obviously, it did not.
On another vein, on September 3-4, Somalians started a hashtag protesting against what they termed a ‘division of Somali airspace’ management between India and Somalia.
In an article on radiodalsan drawing info from this group, the map shown depicts two parallel routes, one green one violet. All green lines appear to be going to Hargeisa where the violets end up and come from Mogadishu – clearly indicating two-direction airspace management.
Somalia was also concerned about a share of 30% of the revenues realized that was supposedly allotted to Somaliland.
Sources have confirmed that Mogadishu which still believes Hargeisa is part of larger Somalia will be allocated 30 percent income of the airspace earnings to boost local economy of Somaliland to iron out the difference and address their concern.
How this was arrived at and whether Somaliland was party to this is not made clear.
Again, Somaliland said nothing of this.
Uncertainty in Mogadishu, however, is now followed by euphoria.
The Somali Civil Aviation & Meteorology Authority (SCAMA) tweets:
Finally, we reclaimed our airspace, thanks to everyone. pic.twitter.com/qD4auzhu3l
— SCAMA (@Scama_1) September 13, 2017
The transfer of Somali airspace to Mogadishu, if it is as reported by UniversalTV, comes at a time where a great number of undecided, Somaliland electorate is standing at a junction mulling over who to cast their votes for in the November-slated presidential elections.