Haider al-Abadi, the Prime Minister for Iraq, has ordered the Kurdish Regional Government to allow the central Iraqi government to take control of Kurdistan’s airports on a federal level. This will be the first step in re-opening Kurdistan’s airports since their closure during the Kurdish independence referendum. Abadi stated, “Based on constitutional jurisprudence, the reopening of the Erbil and Sulaimani airports for international flights will occur,” via social media on Wednesday.

Representative for the United Nations in Iraq, Jan Kubis stated, “This is a significant positive step that is certain to boost the atmosphere of partnership cooperation between the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government. This is a significant positive step that is certain to boost the atmosphere of partnership cooperation between the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.” According to Abadi the airports would be opened, “After the local authority in the Kurdistan Region heeds the return of federal authority in the two respective airports.”

The Prime Minister’s office presented “a Directorate for Special Protection” to be applied to Kurdistan’s airports. If the KRG heeds the decree, which appears to be the plan, international flights to Kurdistan will continue in “not more than one week from its date.” The decree requires a federal take over of the airports and they would be, “Under the command and control of the Federal Ministry of Interior, and the Minister of Interior,” and they, “shall abide by the uniform specified for the security forces of the Ministry of Interior.” Th biometric scanning systems found at the Kurdish airport customs, “Are to be linked to the main system in Baghdad, as is the case in other Iraqi ports.” The Iraqi Ministry of Interior will handle, “Passports and nationality departments and their staff.” A High Committee will be formed and, “It shall include representatives of all concerned authorities in the Center and the Region and shall report to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces or whom he authorizes.”

Prime Minister Abadi met with KRG Interior Minister Karim Sinjari to confirm the terms shortly after the announcement was made. According to Abadi, “The era of exploitation has gone since the collapse of the Baathist regime. I would love to hear tomorrow that the airports were opened.”