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Iraq Set To Impose Flight Ban On Kurdistan In Row Over Independence

Iraq Set To Impose Flight Ban On Kurdistan In Row Over Independence”

So far, Iraq's central government has mandated that all worldwide flights to and from Erbil in the Kurdistan Region be suspended and has warned that land borders might also be closed.

Kurdish leaders insist the referendum was legitimate and that they now have a mandate to start negotiations with Baghdad and neighbouring countries.

Pressure on Iraq's Kurdistan region mounted on Wednesday along with the announcement of official results in a non-binding referendum that showed 92.73 percent of voters backed statehood.

Left without a state of their own when the borders of the Middle East were redrawn after World War I, the Kurds see themselves as the world's largest stateless people. "We will never hold talks based on the results of the referendum", Abadi told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Turkey has threatened to shut its border with Iraq's Kurdish region and halt the flow of oil from that region through a pipeline to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.

What do the Kurds say?

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"Implementation of the central government's decision to take over the management of all border posts and airports run as planned in coordination with the relevant authorities and neighboring countries, there is no delay in the procedure", the Iraqi defense ministry said. "We do not understand yet what are the things the airport has not implemented", Faeq said, adding that civil aviation must not be dragged into political matters.

"But Israel had no part in the Kurdish referendum, aside from the deep, natural and years-long sympathy of the Jewish people to the Kurdish people and its aspirations", he said.

But the Associated Press reports that the director of Irbil airport said military, humanitarian and diplomatic flights from the airport will continue.

He said many refugees used the airport, that it was used by the United Nations to send humanitarian aid to Syria, and that coalition forces were also hosted there.

How have Iraq's neighbours reacted?

"A military exercise joint between iranian armed forces and units of the iraqi army will take place in the next few days along the common border", said to journalists the spokesman of the iranian armed forces, Massoud Jazayeri. But Tillerson's sharp statement indicated that the United States, despite its strong alliance with the Kurds, would not offer any.



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