MOGADISHU (SD) – United Nations (UN) has heeded a directive by Somalia’s foreign ministry to close an airport terminal used by UN and AMISOM staff barely four days after the horn of African nation stated that the facility was being used to smuggle ‘uncontrolled commodities and passage of travellers who are neither member of the two organisations.
In a letter dated December 22, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the MOVCONN terminal is forthwith closed and all UN and AMISOM passengers are directed to use the main terminal at Ade Adde Airport.
“The Ministry is informing you that the Federal Government of Somalia has announced MOVCON Terminal is closed until further notice to ensure the continuity of the normal services,” the letter read in part.
Those with diplomatic and service passports will use the VIP lounge while ordinary passport holders are ‘directed to the main terminal, the letter read in part.
In a rejoinder, the United Nations said it has closed its passenger operations facility (known as MOVCON) at the Aden Adde International Airport, effective 24 December 2021.
“The United Nations operates in Somalia in full respect of Somali law under the terms of a Status of Mission Agreement and other relevant bilateral agreements signed by UN agencies, funds, and programmes, as well as the UN Charter and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations,” the statement reads in part.
The global body said it was regreted the decision by the Somali government ordering the closure of an airport terminal in Mogadishu noting it was issued without sufficient consultation and abruptly.
“We take seriously any concerns that the Federal Government may raise about UN operations at any time and regret that this instruction to close was issued abruptly and with minimal prior consultation,” the UN said. “We further regret that the closure was apparently prompted by allegations that have yet to be presented to the United Nations in detail to permit an inquiry. Further discussions on this matter are scheduled with Federal Government officials in the coming days.”
The statement noted UN remained committed to its partnership with Somalia and to continuing to assist its people despite these operational disruptions.