Iraq's PM Abadi lifts worldwide flight ban to KRG

13 March, 2018, 21:37 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Iraq map showing Kirkuk and the Kurdistan region

The unconstitutional poll 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.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday said he would lift a ban on worldwide flights to and from the region this week, the latest sign of a thaw.

Al-Abadi described the move as "a gift to the people of Kurdistan", during a meeting aired on Iraqi state television and added that the central government would also release salaries for government employees in the Kurdish region ahead of the celebration of the Kurdish new year later this month.

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

Al-Abadi said a higher committee will be formed "to oversee the management of the Kurdish region's airports to ensure their compliance with the federal government's standards".

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

In October 2017, Iraqi federal forces retook control of the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk and many disputed territories in response to the Kurdish referendum. Initially, al-Aabdi's tough line on Iraq's Kurds translated into widespread public support among his base in Iraq's Shiite-heartland.

The long-delayed budget of 104 trillion Iraqi dinars ($88 billion) was passed by parliament on March 3, but Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the vote in protest over their region's diminished allocation.

Iraq has ended a almost six-month air blockade imposed on its Kurdistan after the semi-autonomous region held a controversial referendum on secession last September.

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