Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Kurdistan aviation authorities rejected in Wednesday an international flights ban imposed by Baghdad over the autonomous region’s bid to secede from Iraq.
In a press statement, Kurdish transport minister, Mowlood Bawa Murad, said “Baghdad’s demand to hand over the Erbil and Sulaymaniya airports is an obvious action of hostility”.
According to the minister, “airports in Kurdistan had been built by the decrees and budgets of the region’s government,” adding that his ministry was ready to maintain contacts and dialogue with the aviation authorities in Iraq.
“If Baghdad’s decision is designed as a punishment for Kurdistan people over the independence referendum, we will not be reaching a solution,” said the minister, holding Baghdad responsible for damages to aviation companies that would result from the measure.
Speaking in the same conference, Erbil airport director Talar Faiq labelled Baghdad’s decision “politicized”, warning that its enforcement means hampering an airlift used to deliver United Nations humanitarian aid to Syria.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Tuesday after a ministerial meeting that Kurdish authorities were required to hand over its airports to Baghdad in three days or otherwise face a flight embargo. His decision was one of several measures declared in retaliation for a referendum held Monday on independence from Iraq which Abadi’s government, political elites, regional and world powers have deemed unconstitutional and untimely.
Turkey and Iran have als recently declared closing their airspaces with Kurdistan for the same reason.