The order from the Iraqi government adds pressure to nullify the results of the September 25 plebiscite, in which 93 per cent voted to break away from Baghdad.
Qatar Airways, EgyptAir and Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines also informed passengers that beginning on Friday flights would be cancelled at the request of Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority.
He added that from a military standpoint the two airports are vital to the ongoing war effort because they are better equipped than the Baghdad airport and are closer to the front lines in Mosul and Kirkuk.
- The Iraqi Kurds will establish their own sovereign state13.0% (758)
- A new war will break out in the Middle East51.8% (3023)
- Everything will remain as it is, the situation will quieten down16.0% (935)
- It's too difficult to predict...19.2% (1123)
“Iraq and Turkey have invested billions of dollars in [the Kurdish autonomous region] and we have signed a number of economic, security and energy cooperation accords, so I don’t expect any military intervention by either of them,” Kifah Mahmoud continued.
In response to a question regarding why the Iraqi parliament was so quick to denounce Monday’s plebiscite even before it actually happened, he said that the Iraqi legislature is controlled by the State of Law bloc of Vice-President Nouri al-Maliki, which is governed by religious considerations.
“The State of Law imposes its agenda on the parliament in a bid to concentrate all power in their hands and squeeze out everybody else,” he noted.
We Want to Talk
Elaborating further, he said that the Kurdish regional government was ready to send a high-powered delegation to Baghdad to kick start the talks.
“That is, if the central government is prepared to accept it, of course. We are going to send delegations also to Iran and Turkey,” Kifah Mahmoud concluded.
The people of Kurdistan voted overwhelmingly for independence in Monday's referendum, with the final percentage of who voted yes exceeding 90 percent.
Iraqi authorities said that the referendum was not legitimate and stressed that they would not conduct talks with the authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan on the issue of the vote.
Russia supports Iraq's territorial integrity and calls for both Baghdad and Erbil to resolve all their disagreements by peaceful means.