Kurdish Parliament Rejects Iraqi Measures

02 October, 2017, 00:57 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Deadline approaches for Iraq's Kurds to hand over control airports

It comes as Iraq's military prepared to take control over the Kurdish region's global borders and join Iranian forces in joint military exercises near the Iran-Kurdish border.

Baghdad said that only domestic flights would be allowed to operate from 6 pm local time on Friday (8.30 pm Indian Standard Time) unless the Kurds handed over control of the Erbil and Sulaimaniya airports.

Turkey's president has said Iraqi Kurds could go hungry as a result of the punitive measures it is considering after Monday's independence referendum.

Iraqi troops now in Turkey and Iran were expected to start enforcing control over the border crossings out of the Kurdish region on Saturday morning.

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Earlier, the U.S. said it would be willing to help facilitate conversations between Iraqi Kurds and Baghdad in an attempt to ease tensions between the two sides after a controversial Kurdish referendum vote.

Speaking before the parliament, Kurdistan Region's Minister of Transportation Mawlood Bawa Murad confirmed that all flights from and into Erbil and Sulaimnai airports had stopped, saying this was a political punishment from the Iraqi government.

Iran strongly opposes independence for the Iraqi Kurds, fearing it will provoke separatists among its own Kurdish population.

"A joint military exercise between Iran's armed forces and units from the Iraqi army will be held in the coming days along the shared border", Iranian Armed Forces spokesman Masoud Jazayeri told reporters.

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The office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that the suspension of global flights to Kurdistan would be maintained until the government of the autonomous region ceded control of the airports to Baghdad.

The vote and the results lack legitimacy and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq.

"An independent state is not being founded in northern Iraq, but on the contrary a continuously bleeding wound is being opened", he said.

Iraq's top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani also voiced opposition to the referendum, warning of the negative repercussions of such "unilateral steps".

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Iran has responded positively to the request of Iraq's central government for lending support for preservation of the country's territorial integrity.

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