Kurd Region Govt cedes control over banks to Baghdad

Sergio Conner
March 13, 2018

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.

In an official statement issued earlier in the day, the Iraqi government declared that an global flight ban on the Kurdistan Region had ended which would allow flights to resume from both Erbil and Sulaimani airports.

Iraq has lifted the ban on worldwide flights to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region's airports, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday.

Kurdish authorities have agreed that the airports should come under federal control and report to Baghdad's interior ministry, the decree said.

The formal lifting of the blockade will take place in the next few days, Abadi's spokesman Saad al-Hadithi told AFP.

At a joint press conference with KRG Finance Minister Rebaz Hamlan, Iraqi Central Bank Governor Ali Mohsen al-Alaq said the KRG had voluntarily surrendered its right to operate, regulate and supervise local banks to the central government in Baghdad.

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Since the air ban was enforced, all Kurdistan-bound global flights have been rerouted to Baghdad, which has also imposed entry visas to foreigners wishing to visit the Kurdistan region.

He said airports in the Kurdish region will be under the command of the Federal Ministry of Interior.

Worldwide flights are expected to resume within a week, said a decree issued by Abadi.

It also specified that a biometric system used in Kurdistan's airports will be linked with the federal system.

Iraq's neighbouring countries, especially Turkey, Iran and Syria, fear that the Iraqi Kurds' pursuit of independence threatens their own territorial integrity by inspiring the Kurdish population in those countries to seek independence.

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