Over­seas flights re­turn to air­ports in Kur­dis­tan

The Washington Post - - THE WORLD -

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.

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