BAGHDAD,— Iraqi authorities said Tuesday they had ended a nearly six-month air blockade imposed on Iraqi Kurdistan in response to its holding of the controan independence referendum.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the airports of Erbil and Sulaimani were “again open to international flights”.
In February 2018, Iraq has extended by three months a ban on international flights to the autonomous Kurdish region, a senior official at Erbil airport in the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan said.
Baghdad imposed the air blockade in September – and until Feb.
28 – after Iraqi Kurdistan voted overwhelmingly for independence in a non-binding referendum rejected as illegal by the central government.
It was extended in December for two months and was to run until February 28 but the authorities decided to renew it for three months, the official said.
Since the flight ban went into force, all Kurdistan-bound international flights have been rerouted to Baghdad, which has also imposed entry visas to foreigners wishing to visit the Kurdish region.
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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