Senegal signed an air traffic deal with Belgium on Monday that could help end a bilateral dispute that led Belgium to recall its ambassador to the West African nation in January.
The agreement initialed by Senegalese Transport Minister Karim Wade and Belgian counterpart Etienne Schouppe provides for eight flights per week between the countries -- four for each of their national carriers.
Belgium's Brussels Airlines, which is to be taken over by Germany's Lufthansa this year, also signed a deal with Senegal Airlines allowing the Belgian carrier to operate more than the agreed four flights against a payment of royalties.
Belgium brought its envoy home after Senegal withdrew the right of Brussels Airlines to operate flights via Dakar to other African points following the launch of Senegal's flag carrier.
The new agreement fell short of allowing Brussels Airlines to operate connecting flights via Dakar.
But Schouppe said: "We are hopeful that this agreement will lead to a political will that will enable more air links and promote social and economic development between Dakar and Brussels," Schouppe told a news conference.
Wade said Senegal Airlines and Brussels Airlines will discuss at a latter stage the possibility for Brussels Airlines to run more West African routes through Dakar. The Belgian carrier flies to 16 destinations in Africa.