Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Iraq PM lifts flight ban to Kurdish region's airports

Kurdistan hands over hundreds of IS prisoners to Baghdad Iraqi prime minister reopens Kurdish airports to international flights
Kenny Thornton | 14 March, 2018, 10:59

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday lifted a ban on worldwide flights to two airports in Erbil and Sulaimaniyah in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

He also said that a new security directorate will be established to protect the airports in the Kurdish region and it will be under command and control of the federal Interior Ministry.

The airports are due to open "within a few days" government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi told The Associated Press.

It was not immediately clear whether the region would continue to maintain its independent visa system.

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

Retail inflation eases to 4.4% in February; IIP grows 7.5% in January
The general index for the month of January 2018 stood at 132.3, thus registering a 7.5 percent growth as compared to January 2017. It is set to increase by just 0.2% for both headline and core, which should keep the core year over year pace unchanged at 1.8%.

Local media said Monday Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) had agreed to demarcate a border between the two sides, in an effort to solve the issue of the deployment of Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq.

Only domestic flights have been allowed through the region's airports, with foreign airlines suspending their routes. The Iraqi parliament recently approved the 2018 budget in the absence of Kurdish MPs, who boycotted the meeting in protest at the cut in finances allocated to the region.

Federal authorities imposed the blockade in September after Iraqi Kurdistan voted overwhelmingly for independence in a non-binding referendum rejected as illegal by the central government.

The blockade was extended in December for two months and then renewed in February for another three months.

The flight ban was part of a battery of penalties inflicted on the Kurds as Baghdad sought to nullify the poll, with federal forces also seizing disputed oil-rich regions.

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