18:10 GMT29 November 2020
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    Iraqi Kurdistan's Independence Referendum (53)
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    Iraqi Kurdistan expressed readiness to station observers to local Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports, but the province would not accept the officers of the federal government.

    ERBIL (Sputnik) — Iraqi Kurdistan strongly opposes giving away the control of the facilities to Baghdad, the province's Minister of Transport and Communications Mawlood Murad Mohyeldin told Sputnik Thursday.

    On Wednesday, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) said in a statement that all international flights to and from Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports would be suspended starting from 15:00 GMT on Friday. On Tuesday, Baghdad also reportedly required Erbil to transfer control of Kurdistan regional border posts and airports to the Iraqi central government.

    "The government of Iraqi Kurdistan is ready to hold talks and a dialogue on sending observers and controllers of the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority to the airports of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah," Mohyeldin said.

    The official added that the province would not accept the officers of the federal government, if they expect to manage the airports.

    Mohyeldin said that Erbil had sent a relevant notice to Baghdad, and was waiting for the ICAA or any other authority to respond.

    A referendum on the independence of Kurdistan was held in the region and several adjacent territories, disputed by Baghdad and Erbil, on Monday. The preliminary results show that almost 93 percent of the voters have supported independence.

    Baghdad has been a vocal opponent of the independence vote, while several foreign states, including the United States, have questioned its timing.

    Iraqi Kurdistan's Independence Referendum (53)
    airports, Civil Aviation Authority, Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, Sulaymaniyah, Erbil
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