Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Iraqi prime minister reopens Kurdish airports to global flights

Iraqi prime minister reopens Kurdish airports to global flights

Northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has agreed to relinquish the right to operate and oversee banks in the region, the governor of Iraq's central bank said Tuesday.

The Iraqi government later imposed the flights ban on the Kurdish region as part of a package of punitive measures that also included blocking all the border crossings outside the federal control.

"Kurdistan's regional airports will be under the command of the Federal Ministry of the Interior", the statement said.

It opened up a persisting rift between the semi-autonomous region and the central government in Baghdad.

A statement by his office said Abadi signed a decree to lift the ban after receiving positive response from the Kurdish local authorities "to restore the federal authority in the two airports in accordance with the Constitution of Iraq".

Tensions flared up between the region and the central government in Baghdad after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a highly controversial plebiscite on secession on September 25 past year.

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 global opposition.

However, Iraqi parliament remains deeply divided, raising fears of a protracted government formation process following national elections.

Iraq's small landlocked Kurdish region has been increasingly isolated following the September referendum, straining relations with key allies such as the United States and neighboring Turkey.

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