Overseas flights return to airports in Kurdistan
Iraq will reopen airports in the Kurdistan region to international flights after federal authority was restored at the hubs, according to a statement from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday.
The announcement came about six months after the airports were shut to international flights in the wake of a controversial referendum in the self-ruled Kurdish region that overwhelmingly backed independence from Baghdad.
The airports are due to open “within a few days,” government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said.
The prime minister of Kurdistan, Nechirvan Barzani, called Abadi’s decision “a step in the right direction” and said he would continue to work to resolve issues between the region and the central government.
The Kurdish vote in September was rejected by Baghdad and neighboring nations, ratcheting up tensions in the region.
The decision to lift the flight ban comes as Iraq is preparing for elections in May.