Iraq acts to quell Kurdish independence movement as US influence in Middle East wanes

The Kurdish and Iraqi flag sway in the wind as a bonfire burns during the Noruz spring festival celebrations in the northern city of Kirkuk, about 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of Baghdad on March 20, 2017

Iraqi Delegation to Visit Kurdistan to Discuss Airports, Checkpoints Reopening

CAIRO (Sputnik) – A delegation of the Iraqi central government will visit Iraqi Kurdistan to hold negotiations on the resumption of the work of the region’s international airports as well as of the checkpoints situated at its borders, local media reported on Saturday.

Earlier on Saturday, an Iraqi Kurdistan‘s delegation was received by the Iraqi Interior Ministry. Following the negotiations, the two parties stated the necessity to overcome the differences between Erbil and Baghdad on the issues relating to the control over border crossings, customs and airports in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution.

According to Al-Baghdadia TV channel, it will be the first visit of the Iraqi official delegation to the autonomous region since Baghdad’s imposition of a blockade on Kurdistan over the latter’s independence referendum.Iraqi Kurdistan held its independence referendum on September 25, with around 93 percent of voters supporting secession from Iraq. Following the vote, deemed illegal by Baghdad, Iraq imposed sanctions on the Kurdish regional government and reduced the region’s budget to 12.7 percent of the Iraqi budget, compared to the 17 percent it normally had.

Among other measures taken by Baghdad in response to the vote was the launch of a military operation in the Kurdish-controlled disputed territories, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

© AFP 2018/ Marwan IBRAHIM

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