19:48 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Iraq Extends Ban on International Flights to Breakaway Kurdistan

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    Iraq's September ban on international flights to the Kurdistan region will reportedly remain in place until February 28.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Iraqi authorities have extended by two months September’s ban on international flights to the breakaway Kurdistan region after its vote for independence, local media reported Wednesday.

    Restrictions will remain in place until February 28 and concern Kurdistan’s Erbil and Sulaimani airports, the Rudaw news channel said. It was due to expire this Friday.

    "It is unfortunate that the Iraqi government issued this decision while we were expecting talks to begin to solve the problems," Kurdish acting Transport Minister Mawlud Bawamurad told the outlet.

    Military, diplomatic, humanitarian and UN flights are reportedly exempted but subject to approval by the Iraqi government.

    More than 90 percent of Kurds voted in September in favor of the autonomy's secession from Iraq. Baghdad called the referendum illegal and launched a military operation to recapture the Kurdish-held disputed areas of the country, also imposing sanctions on Kurdish authorities.

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