Iraq votes to end controversial customs checkpoints to Kurdistan

The Iraqi parliament on Wednesday decided in a majority vote to remove domestic customs stations between the Kurdistan Region's borders and the Iraqi provinces of Kirkuk and Nineveh.
author_image Sangar Ali

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi parliament on Wednesday decided in a majority vote to remove domestic customs stations between the Kurdistan Region's borders with the Iraqi provinces of Kirkuk and Nineveh.

Kurdish lawmaker in Baghdad Viyan Sabri told Kurdistan 24 that the vote would cancel all the decisions issued by the administration of former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi between July 1 and Oct. 24, 2018, in its role as caretaker government.

She mentioned that, in that period, Abadi’s government made decisions which were not necessary and which, at times, were at odds with various articles of the Iraqi constitution.

In that period, she noted, due to the delay of the results of May's protracted parliamentary elections, the term of the previous body of lawmakers had ended well before the next one had been voted in. As a result, the body was unable to convene and observe government actions.

One of the decisions the Iraqi government made in that period was to install customs points on the roads which connect Erbil – Kirkuk, Sulaimani – Kirkuk, and Duhok – Mosul.

The victims of the high fees charged at such sites, critics said, were not only those who relied on transporting goods for their livelihoods but also regular people who were then obliged to then pay higher prices for those goods.

On Tuesday, a Kurdish official revealed that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq had inked a 28-point agreement to address controversial the customs checkpoints, which he called "illegal."

Ties between Erbil and Baghdad deteriorated considerably after the unilateral referendum held in the Kurdistan Region and in territories disputed between them.

Relations have improved over the past few months, namely after the formation of the new Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

Editing by John J. Catherine

(Additional reporting by Shivan Jabbari)