Iraqi PM announces Baghdad lifting ban on global flights to KRG

Iraqi PM announces Baghdad lifting ban on global flights to KRG

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

"Local Kurdish authorities [have] accepted that central authorities retake control of the two airports", the statement said.

Abadi made the announcement during his meeting with the officers of the regional Interior Ministry who were working at the two airports, Xinhua news agency cited the statement as saying.

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

The referendum was vehemently rejected by the central government and Iraq's other neighbours, ratcheting up tensions in the region on the heels of military victories against the ISIL.

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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.

The ban on worldwide flights was part of sanctions imposed on the Kurdistan Region after it conducted a referendum in September on Kurdish independence in defiance of Baghdad's position, Reuters said.

On June 10, 2014, the group launched a blitzkrieg and seized large swathes of territories in predominantly Sunni provinces in northern and western Iraq, and later announced the formation of "Peace Companies" to protect Shiite shrines from Islamic State militants.

Baghdad imposed the blockade in September after Iraqi Kurdistan voted for independence in a non-binding referendum.

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