The Republic of Somaliland called on ICAO and other relevant UN agencies to intervene in Somalia’s projected takeover of Somalia takeover of what the latter terms as “Somalia airspace’ which includes that of Somaliland.
Captain Abdi Mohamed Rodol, the newly appointed Director of the Somaliland Civil Aviation Authority, fielding questions from the local press on the issue, stated that Somaliland will in no way or form accept management of its airspace from Mogadishu.
“Somalia has violated the Istanbul I and Istanbul II provisos on airspace and the continuation of Somalia-Somaliland talks as equal partners,” he said.
He continued to add that with or without international recognition, the Republic of Somaliland had an inalienable right to control its airspace.
“Somalia has a right to celebrate a takeover of its airspace. That right does not extend to our airspace,” he said.
Mr. Rodol said the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Office (ICAO) was, to them, still the only caretaker of the so-called ‘Somalia’ airspace it administered since the collapse of the central government of the Siyad Barre regime in 1991.
Mr. Rodol, reading his statement from a paper, was, however, neither convincing nor authoritative enough to quell the growing concerns of Somalilanders that the right to their airspace had long changed hands in favor of Somalia.
Aviation Ministers of the previous government had always made lulling statements assuring the nation that Somaliland was well on top of its grip on its airspace. They, same as the new Director, never said anything about taking the issue up with ICAO or contesting the takeover in international legal channels based on the internationally-chaperoned talks between Somaliland and Somalia on common issues.
Today, Somalia went live on the official inauguration of equipment and services giving it the edge to fully control Somalia/Somaliland airspace and consequent revenues.
There is a lot Somaliland can do to prevent FISS office relocating to Mogadishu as planned. The new Somaliland government has time enough to make the right moves yet. Bringing culpable officials – past or present – who may have given Mogadishu the green signal to account and the removal of collaborators and incompetent officials from positions of authority in aviation can be a welcome starting point.
Clearly, the new Director of Somaliland Aviation has proven to Somaliland, today, that he is not the right person for the task at hand at this crucial turning point.