Ethiopian Airlines (EAL) has announced it is to start scheduled
commercial flights to Hargeisa, the main city in the self-proclaimed
independent state of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia.
on Monday follows an appeal by the head of the region, Mohamed
Ibrahim Egal, when he visited Addis Ababa in November, asking
Ethiopian authorities to introduce flights to Hargeisa and
the port city of Berbera.
the beginning of the war with Eritrea, Ethiopia has used the
port of Djibouti and -- to a lesser extent -- Berbera for
conducting external trade. Somaliland remains unrecognised
by the international community 10 years after it split from
the rest of Somalia after the fall of president Mohammed Siad
Barre in 1991.
authorities continue to deny the legitimacy of the head of
Somalia's national government of transition Abdoulkassim Salat
Hassan -- elected in August.
also follows an agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland
to open a subsidiary of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia in
Hargeisa and an office of the Ethiopian national sea carrier
in the self-proclaimed independent state.
flights will be twice weekly, the company announced.