Kenya allows two flights to Somaliland despite ban

The two flights from Kenya delivered electoral material in despite ban on air traffic with Somalia.

0

Kenya allows two flights to Somaliland despite ban www.africanpolicy.com

Kenya has allowed two aircraft to fly to Somaliland to deliver electoral material in spite of a ban on air traffic with Somalia.

A diplomatic clearance MFA/PRO.91/002 (052) on Thursday said two airplanes operated by Astral Aviation will be allowed to deliver the material from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, through Djibouti and to the Somaliland capital Hargeisa.

A MacDonnell Douglas DCC-9F and a Boeing B727-727F, both registered in Kenya, will be permitted to deliver the material between May 13 and 15 with a possibility of extension should there be delays.

“Kindly note that the clearance is granted with a 72-hour window to cater for any delays,” the note from Kenya’s Foreign Ministry to the Somaliland Liaison Office said on Thursday.

Somaliland, the breakaway region that considers itself independent of Somalia, is due to hold local and parliamentary elections on May 31 in a further signal of its growing democracy.

But Somalia is currently in the deep of a political stand-off, with parties yet to agree on the date or venues of elections, three months since the expiry of President Mohamed Farmaajo’s four-year term.

Suspended flights

Mogadishu has sustained a diplomatic tiff with Kenya, however, accusing Nairobi of interference in Somalia’s internal affairs, charges Kenya denies. Last week, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority suspended flights between Kenya and Somalia for three months, with the exception of medical evacuation and humanitarian deliveries.

The move, the Nation learned, came after Somalia grounded two aircraft owned by Kenyan firm Bluebird Aviation which the Somali Civil Aviation Authority accused of delivering miraa from Kenya despite an existing ban.

But Kenya rejected the decision, arguing the operator flew into Somalia after Mogadishu reopened diplomatic ties it had cut in December, and only clarified the ban was still on days later when the aircrafts had landed into Somalia.

The decision means all chartered and scheduled flights to Somalia are suspended. However, flights from Somalia, passing through the Kenyan airspace to other destinations are exempted.

The move dented the latest efforts to revive relations between the two countries. Qatari special envoy Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani helped broker resumption of relations earlier this month.

Build ties

Nairobi’s move on Thursday could likely anger Somalia more, even though the flights are scheduled to avoid the Somali airspace. Kenya has been trying to build ties with Somaliland, which considers itself independent of Somalia but unrecognised across the word by any sovereign state.

In December, President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi where they declared unwavering commitment to deepen the cordial bilateral relations.”

“During their discussions, the leaders focused their attention on the expansion of bilateral trade, enhancing collaboration in air transport including enabling direct flights between Nairobi and Hargeisa, as well as cooperating in Agriculture, Livestock Development, Education, Energy and cooperation between the ports of Mombasa and Berbera,” a dispatch said on December 15, 2020.

Somalia would cut ties with Kenya on the same day, although Bihi has also visited Ethiopia and Djibouti without stirring Somalia.

Flight ban

The region is due to hold local and parliamentary elections on May 31 in a new sign of its growing democracy, while Somalia faces a deep political stalemate, with parties failing to agree on when to hold elections, three months after the expiration of the president. The four-year term of Mohamed Farmaajo.

Mogadishu has had a diplomatic dispute with Kenya, accusing Nairobi of interference in Somalia’s internal affairs, charges that Kenya denies. Last week, the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority suspended flights between Kenya and Somalia for three months, with the exception of medical evacuation and humanitarian deliveries.

The decision means that all chartered and scheduled flights to Somalia are suspended. However, flights from Somalia through Kenyan airspace to other destinations are exempt.

The movement, Business Daily learned, came after Somalia grounded two planes owned by the Kenyan company Bluebird Aviation, which the Somali Civil Aviation Authority accused of delivering miraa from Kenya despite an existing ban.

But Kenya rejected the decision, arguing that the operator flew to Somalia after Mogadishu reestablished diplomatic ties it had cut in December, only clarifying that the ban was still in effect days after the plane landed.

The Nairobi move on Thursday could likely further enrage Somalia, even though the flights are scheduled to bypass Somali airspace. Kenya has been trying to establish ties with Somaliland, which is considered independent from Somalia.

In December, President Uhuru Kenyatta received the leader of Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi, where they declared an “unwavering commitment to deepen cordial bilateral relations.”

During their discussions, the leaders turned their attention to expanding bilateral trade, enhancing collaboration in air transport, including enabling direct flights between Nairobi and Hargeisa, as well as cooperation in agriculture, livestock development, education, energy, and cooperation between the ports of Mombasa and Berbera, ”read a dispatch on December 15, 2020.

Somalia cut ties with Kenya on the same day, although President Bihi also visited Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More