ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The decision to lift the international flight ban on the Kurdistan Region’s airports was a step in the right direction, a top Kurdistan Region official said on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially ordered to re-open the Erbil and Sulaimani airports after they were under an international flight ban for almost six months.
“The decision to re-open airports in the Kurdistan Region was a step in the right direction,” Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani said during his weekly press briefing in Erbil.
He praised the role of Abadi in resolving disputes between Erbil and Baghdad, stating he had a telephone conversation with the Iraqi Prime Minister on Monday.
Barzani said issues between Erbil and Baghdad go beyond the airport and budget disputes, calling to address the problems based on the constitution of Iraq.
He noted that Kurdistan’s budget share in Iraq’s 2018 budget bill, which the Kurds boycotted in the Iraqi Parliament, should be reviewed, stating it does not meet the requirement of the Region nor matches its constitutional share.
Barzani explained that the Kurdistan Region is part of Iraq and its people should have the same rights as any other citizens in the country.
He said the people of the Kurdistan Region are very concerned about the budget delay and salaries of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) employees, highlighting the sacrifices and patience of the KRG’s civil servants who are waiting to receive their payments.
“The lives of all refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Kurdistan Region are protected. It is the responsibility of the KRG to protect them. Kurdistan is their home,” Barzani told reporters.
The Prime Minister added that the KRG had already begun handing over Islamic State (IS) prisoners to the Iraqi government.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated following the Sep. 25 independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany