Kurd Region Govt cedes control over banks to Baghdad

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

The ban on worldwide flights was part of sanctions imposed on the Kurdistan Region after it conducted a referendum in September on Kurdish independence in defiance of Baghdad's position, Reuters said.

On March 3, the Iraqi parliament endorsed a bill for the country's 2018 federal budget with about 77 billion USA dollars and a deficit of about 10 billion dollars, after months of heated debate among the political blocs over multiple controversial items, including the 17-percent allocation from the national budget for the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Kurdish authorities have agreed that the airports should come under federal control and report to Baghdad's interior ministry, the decree said.

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At a joint press conference with KRG Finance Minister Rebaz Hamlan, Iraqi Central Bank Governor Ali Mohsen al-Alaq said the KRG had voluntarily surrendered its right to operate, regulate and supervise local banks to the central government in Baghdad.

Al-Abadi said a higher committee will be formed "to oversee the management of the Kurdish region's airports to ensure their compliance with the federal government's standards".

The referendum was vehemently rejected by Baghdad and Iraq's other neighbors, ratcheting up tensions in the region on the heels of military victories against the Daesh group.

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The long-delayed budget of 104 trillion Iraqi dinars ($88 billion) was passed by parliament on March 3, but Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the vote in protest over their region's diminished allocation.

Relations between Baghdad and the regional government Erbil have remained tense since last September, when the KRG held an unconstitutional referendum on regional independence.

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