By Fowzi Kamal
Since Kulmiye party won the 2010 Somaliland presidential election and Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Siilanyo) elected as the forth president, the status of Somaliland in the world has been degraded and often labeled in the international forums as regional government analogous to that of Puntland, Galmudug State, and the newly forms Jubbaland, and South Western state.
In 2012 Siilanyo administration has agreed to participate in the London Somalia Conference hosted by UK Prime Minster David Carmon and subsequent Istanbul Conference. Although at time, diverse groups in the society demonstrated reticence and believed that Somalia will not adhere to its commitments if that door is opened. However, after exhausted debate in Somaliland and both in the Parliament and Council of Elders (The Guurti) the ensuing amendment to Somaliland constitution to negotiate Somalia as equal partner has enacted and passed with great reservation by the public in general. Till today, Somaliland has not received any significant assistance from Turkey, while Mogadishu received millions of dollars of aid.
After several conferences in Istanbul, Turkey in their second engagement Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) was reached including the Airspace Agreement that was signed by Somalia and Somaliland in an attempt to put back the authority of former Somalia Airspace under the management of both Somalia and Somaliland. Both parties also agreed in principle that neither party has the sole authority to negotiate with the United Nations agency for Aviation, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and both parties ought to respect all agreements reached and reframe from any undue statements and pronouncements that might derail the negotiations.
As we all know, on several occasions quite member of Somali ministers have deliberately violated those agreements. However in contrast, Somaliland government has not responded with tenacity and vigor as the case demanded, but rather was apologetic and looked weak before the international community.
Last week while Somaliland Foreign Minster Hon. Mohamed Bihi Yunis and Minister for Presidency Hon. Hersi Ali Haji Hassan was in Istanbul, Turkey supposedly negotiating with Mogadishu Government and later informed the people of Somaliland that Siilanyo administration’s policy will always be guided by aspirations of Somaliland people. While Somalia’s Minister for Aviation Hon. Saed Jama Ali (Qorshel) and Raymond Benjamin head of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) signed a comprehensive agreement in Montreal, Canada that completely transferred the authority of former Somalia airspace to Mogadishu Government with immediate effect without prior consultations with Somaliland Government. Till today, Somaliland Government has not responded to that historic agreement and in my opinion doesn’t fully comprehend the impact this agreement might have in Somaliland’s sovereignty and its pursuit for international recognition.
Mr. Benjamin, I his brief statement at the ceremony stated ‘We are in the final stages of implementing the transfer of Somalia Civil Aviation to the Federal Government of Somalia’. He added “in addition to, we have a parallel project in assisting in capacity building”.
In light of the new developments on the ownership and management of former Somalia’s Civil Aviation, the question one has to ask is what the response of the Somaliland Government will be in face of this crucial matter which is tantamount to surrendering Somaliland’s territorial sovereignty under the auspices of Mogadishu Government. As such, this transfer renders Somaliland as regional administration under the Federal Government of Somalia.
Given the implication of the agreement, I will suggest several recommendations that might effect reversal of this agreement by International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO.
Somaliland Government ought to stop all contacts with the Federal Government of Somalia and halt all negotiations immediately without delay. And or ban Somalia government officials flying over Somaliland airspace.
Force all airlines landing and departing Somaliland airports to ignore all directives from Mogadishu and or airlines flying over Somaliland Airspaces to follow suit.
Close all United Nations offices throughout Somaliland and expel from the country all UN staff within twenty four (24) hours and consider them as Persona none grate (PNG). And or ban all UN flights over Somaliland airspace.
In addition to the above measures, the Chairman of Somaliland Parliament Hon, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi (Cirro) and the Chairman of Somaliland House Elders (Guurti) Hon, Suleiman Mohamed Aden in concert with President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Siilanyo) repeal the legislation that allowed the government of Somaliland to negotiate with Somalia. The above mentioned Somaliland leaders under oath affirmed that they will protect, preserve and defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Somaliland.
In light of the above development, and given the aspirations of the Chairman of Somaliland Parliament Hon. Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi (Cirro) in addition to Wadani Party leader, declared his candidacy for the upcoming 2015 Somaliland Presidential and parliamentary elections, must demonstrate to the electrode that he is decisive leader who can be trusted and counted on in times crisis. The Chairman of Somaliland House Elders (Guurti) Hon, Suleiman Mohamed Aden also bears equal responsibility if not more and must ensure that actions taken by Siilanyo administration bear fruits.
UCID Party as the sole opposition party with no affiliation with any of the three branches of government, have to speak forcefully about this major issue facing the country and force Siilanyo administration and the two Houses of Somaliland Parliament to demonstrate their disapproval and act decisively in pursuit of their rights; galvanize Somaliland people to unite under one banner and assist any efforts by the government, the houses of parliament and its people to reverse this injustice agreement spearheaded by the United Nations International Agency for Civil Aviation (ICAO).