Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Iraqi PM reopens Kurdistan airports to global flights

Iraqi PM reopens Kurdistan airports to global flights

Iraq is reopening airports in the country's Kurdish region to worldwide flights after federal authority was restored at the hubs, according to a statement from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday.

"Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi announced the reopening of the airports in Erbil and Suleimaniyah to worldwide flights", said a tweet published by Mr Abadi's official account.

The move "aims to facilitate the travel of citizens" through the two airports, the statement said.

Kurdistan's regional airports will be under the command of the federal Interior Ministry, according to the prime minister's statement.

It also specified that the biometric system used in the Kurdistan Region's airports will be linked with the federal system.

This prompted Baghdad to impose a raft of punitive sanctions on the KRG, including a ban on worldwide flights into and out of the Kurdish region.

The Iraqi military has denied reports about demarcating borders between the central government in Baghdad and northern Iraq's Kurdish region.

The referendum was held despite strong opposition from Baghdad, the global community, and Iraq's neighboring countries, especially Turkey and Iran.

Since the air ban was enforced, all Kurdistan-bound global flights have been rerouted to Baghdad, which has also imposed entry visas to foreigners wishing to visit the Kurdistan region.

In September 2017 people in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq voted in the controversial referendum, despite warnings from the central government in Baghdad and worldwide opposition.

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