Spokesperson: Iraqi government to lift ban on Kurdistan’s airports in few days

"The reopening of the Kurdistan Region's airports for international flights will be announced in the upcoming days," an Iraqi government spokesperson revealed.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – An Iraqi government spokesperson on Monday said an agreement on outstanding issues between the Federal Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had reached its “final stages.”

Saad al-Hadithi, the Iraqi government spokesperson, revealed that the stranded issues between Erbil and Baghdad have “reached their final stages” including the end of a ban on international flights at airports in Erbil and Sulaimani.

“There is an agreement between the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Region,” Hadithi told Iraqi Media News Agency.

He added that the resumption of international flights at the Erbil and Sulaimani airports was “close,” stating that the meetings between Erbil and Baghdad on lifting the flight embargo have been finalized.

“The reopening of the airports for international flights will be announced in the next few days,” the Iraqi government spokesperson revealed.

Hadithi explained that the airports would be reopened “after procedures by federal employees are completed in the upcoming days.”

Following the Kurdistan Region’s Sep. 25 independence referendum, Baghdad imposed a flight embargo on airports in Erbil and Sulaimani Province, a move Kurdish officials labeled as an “international isolation” of the Region.

Over the past few months, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has repeatedly stated that he would lift the ban and send the salaries of KRG employees soon, but has not yet done so, which has led many in Kurdistan to describe his promises as “propaganda.”

“We might send the salaries of employees [of the KRG’s health and education ministries] before Newroz, God willing,” Abadi stated during his weekly press briefing last Tuesday.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany