Barzani commends Baghdad for lifting ban on int’l flights to Kurdistan region

Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani

Erbil ( – Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani praised on Tuesday the Iraqi government’s decision to lift a ban on international flights to Kurdish airports following a few months’ hiatus.

During a press conference, Alsumaria News quoted Barzani as hailing the decision announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi earlier in the day as an “important step” towards the settlement of other pending issues between Baghdad and Erbil.

Barzani noted that the agreement to resume flights to and from the semi-autonomous region’s two main airports in Erbil and Sulaimaniyah “came in line with the Iraqi constitution,” expressing hope that the remaining issues, atop of which are disputed areas, would be solved following the upcoming parliamentary elections, slated for May 12.

The Kurdish premier also stressed his government’s readiness to cooperate with Baghdad in the anti-terror field, saying that his semi-autonomous region has “already handed over several Islamic State militants to the federal government over the past period.”

Baghdad had suspended air flights to and from Kurdish airports after the Kurds voted overwhelmingly to break away from Iraq in a referendum held on Sept. 25, defying the central government in Baghdad as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran who have their own Kurdish minorities.

However, an Iraqi court issued a verdict in November, considering Kurdistan’s independence referendum “unconstitutional” and cancelled all results of the controversial vote.

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