No border demarcation with Kurdish region

Baghdad ends air blockade of Iraqi Kurdistan

Baghdad ends air blockade of Iraqi Kurdistan

Federal authorities imposed the blockade in September after Iraqi Kurdistan voted overwhelmingly for independence in a non-binding referendum rejected as illegal by the central government.

The ban on worldwide flights on the region's global airports of Erbil and Sulaimaniyah forced passengers to apply for an Iraqi visa to transit through Baghdad and Basra worldwide airports to go or leave the Kurdish region.

In September 2017 people in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq voted in the controversial referendum, despite warnings from the central government in Baghdad and worldwide opposition.

The airports are due to open "within a few days" government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi told The Associated Press.

"There is no truth in reports about an agreement between the central government and KRG on demarcating border and return of Peshmerga forces", he said.

Only domestic flights have been allowed through the region's airports, with foreign airlines suspending their routes in accordance with an order from the central government.

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Federal customs authorities will supervise the "introduction, production and handling of materials and equipment through the two airports", the decree said.

Soon after the decree was issued, a legal advisor to Iraq's President Fuad Masum, said Masum was refusing to approve the budget.

"Kurdistan's regional airports will be under the command of the Federal Ministry of the Interior", the statement said.

Iraq's Kurds overwhelmingly backed independence from federal Iraq in the September 25 vote.

All the regional airports and border crossings will be linked directly to the main control system in Baghdad, similar to what is done in the other Iraqi airports and crossing, the statement said. This hit the region's economy, with a decrease in tourism and travel affecting local businesses.

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