By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Intense negotiations are on-going to resolve the controversy that ensued with the government of Somaliland banning UN flights in the country.
According to a Spokesperson for the UN in Somalia Mr. Dawn Blalock Goodwin who was responding to a query by reporter Mahmud Walaleye the UN which has suspended all its flight operations in Somaliland following a ban order by the minister of aviation on Monday is negotiating an end to the impasse
On the 14th May 2013 the government of Somaliland in a statement released by the aviation minister Mr. Mahmud Abdi Hashi informed that it has taken full control of its airspace and that “As from 15th May at 6 am UN Flights are banned from entering Somaliland and any of its Aircraft already on the ground shall not be allowed to take-off until further notice”
The UN’s Mr. Goodwin who was responding on behalf of his absent boss said:
I am answering on behalf of Mr. Lazzarini who is traveling at the moment. You can attribute the following statement to a Spokesperson for the UN in Somalia. I can also send it to you in Somali.
“Following notification by authorities in Somaliland, all UN flights to and from Somaliland has been suspended with effect from Monday at 6pm. The United Nations and its agencies are taking this transportation issue seriously and are in discussions with the relevant authorities to bring about a resolution as quickly as possible. There has been no impact on ongoing UN programmes and it is our priority to ensure no interruption of support or activities. The UN welcomes the ongoing efforts to resolve this quickly.” Spokesperson for the UN in Somalia Regards, Dawn Blalock Goodwin”
Meanwhile another statement attributed to the UN Secretary General’s spokesperson Mr. Martin Nersirky UN operated UNHAS flights have adhered to the ban imposed by Somaliland authorities and earnest efforts are underway to resolve the impasse occasioned by the UNDP’s announcement that it has transferred control of Somaliland airspace to Mogadishu based Somalia authorities.
Mr. Nersirky further informed that despite the flight ban UN activities in the yet to be recognized Somaliland have not and will not be affected in anyway as negotiations ensue.
The Somaliland authorities who have said that the UN does not fully understand the situation on the ground as pertains to the sovereignty of Somaliland vis ‘ ‘a’ vis Somalia want the world body to change its tact as per its engagement with the two entities.
letter submitted to Ban Ki Moon 2 days ago by the Somaliland minister of foreign affairs Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar indicated that recent comments by high ranking staffers that implied that Somaliland was part and parcel of a federal Somalia were in bad taste and unacceptable to the people of Somaliland.
As the flight ban saga goes Somalilanders mark their 22nd re-independence anniversary in an up-beat mood of praise to the government for having shooed off the UN.