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Iraq's PM Abadi lifts global flight ban to KRG

Iraq's PM Abadi lifts global flight ban to KRG

Airports in Iraq's Kurdish region were reopened to worldwide flights after federal authority was restored at the hubs, said Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi on Tuesday.

This prompted Baghdad to impose a raft of punitive sanctions on the KRG, including a ban on worldwide flights into and out of the Kurdish region.

"Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi announced the reopening of the airports in Erbil and Suleimaniyah to worldwide flights", said a tweet published by Mr Abadi's official account.

"We had urged the Iraqi MPs not to approve the budget in its current draft", Prime Minister Barzani noted.

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

Federal customs authorities will supervise the "introduction, production and handling of materials and equipment through the two airports", the decree said.

Baghdad reduced the Kurdistan Region's share of the federal budget to roughly 12 percent, a significant drop from its previous 17 percent allocation, and did not allocate any budget for the Peshmerga forces, the primary reason for representatives from the Region to protest the bill.

It was not immediately clear whether the region would continue to maintain its independent visa system. The deputy spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said talks were ongoing on the issue.

Iraq's Parliament approved the country's controversial 2018 budget bill in the absence of Kurdish politicians, who boycotted the session.

However, he has the authority guaranteed by Iraq's constitution to ratify all laws passed by parliament and can return draft laws to parliament.