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02 October 2017, 12:39 | Katrina Lee
Iraq Set To Impose Flight Ban On Kurdistan In Row Over Independence
The move by a trilateral front consisting of Iran, Iraq and Turkey is aimed at isolating the Kurds following their controversial vote on independence last Monday.
The drills will take place at several crossings on Iran's border with Iraqi Kurdistan, he said, speaking after a high-level meeting of Iranian commanders.
Baghdad has closed Kurdish airspace and vowed to take control of the autonomous region's external borders.
Following the referendum, Turkey and Iraq launched a joint military exercise on the Turkish-Iraqi border in Silopi district of Sirnak province.
On Saturday, Erdogan said Iraqi Kurdistan "will pay a price" for the "unacceptable" referendum, without elaborating.
Military tensions are running high; after the vote, the Iraqi parliament asked Abadi to send troops to Kirkuk, a disputed oil-rich city under KRG control that is only 50% Kurdish.
While much of the global community, including the United Nations, the European Union and Iraq's neighbors, has opposed the referendum, Israel has been the only entity to openly support an independent Kurdish state, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backing "the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state" of their own.
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"We urge calm and an end to vocal recriminations and threats of reciprocal actions".
Turkey, which hosts a sizable Kurdish minority and fears the ballot could spur separatist movements there, has also consistently condemned the referendum.
This followed the refusal of Kurdish authorities to hand over control of the northern Iraqi region's airports to the country's federeal government.
According to a statement from Iran's transport ministry published by the Tasnim news agency, all transport companies have been banned from transporting fuel between Iran and the Iraqi Kurdish region "until further notice".
The office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that the suspension of global flights to Kurdistan would be maintained until the government of the autonomous region ceded control of the airports to Baghdad.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, however, demanded the annulment of the referendum, saying, "We will never hold talks based on the results of the referendum".
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