In an urgent session held on Saturday, Kurdish parliament rejected the list of measures announced by the Iraqi parliament. The government of Kurdistan region also refused to receive any military or security Iraqi personnel to oversee the airports.
Meanwhile, reports indicated that both Turkey and Iran had approved the presence of Iraqi military forces on their territories, however no official confirmation of the news had been issued.
Speaking before the parliament, Kurdistan Region's Minister of Transportation Mawlood Bawa Murad confirmed that all flights from and into Erbil and Sulaimnai airports had stopped, saying this was a political punishment from the Iraqi government.
The minister added that the government’s decisions have no legal base and are a punishment to all civilians and airlines.
Bawa Murad said that he was told by journalists that the Iraqi government was planning to deploy some officers to the Kurdish airports. He said if the reports were accurate, the Kurdish government would consider such officers as “our guests,” but warned that they would not allow them to “step in” the Kurdish airports unless discussions were held about the flight ban.
“We will not allow even one single person from Iraq, from the Iraqi civil aviation, or from the office of the government to come to the Erbil and Sulaimnai international airports without our decision,” Bawa Murad said.
He concluded that unlike the Iraqi government, they want to continue the path of “language of dialogue,” and that the Iraqi authorities should know that Kurdistan remained a nation with or without an airport.
Security forces on Ibrahim al-Khalil crossing denied the deployment of Iraqi forces or employees in the border.
AbdulWahhab Mohammed, director of intelligence at the crossing point from the Kurdish region into Turkey, said Iraqi troops are in position on the Turkish side of the border.
He informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the situation is completely normal and no changes had occurred, adding that they had not been contacted and no Iraqi employees or military forces had arrived.
On September 26, the Iraqi government decided to monitor all crossing points between Iraq and Kurdistan, close or unofficial points, and stop all international flights. The measures came in force on Friday when the Iraqi authorities cut Kurdistan’s air connection to the rest of the world for an unlimited time.
Speaking at the parliament, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi called the parliament to cancel the results of the referendum and impose Iraqi law on the region.
The parliament voted on 12 measures against Kurdistan, most of which are economic, including calls to deploy Iraqi forces to the disputed or Kurdistani areas such as Kirkuk, take control over Kurdistan’s land and air entry points, demand the foreign missions present in Erbil and Sulaimani to leave the Kurdistan Region, and bring charges against Kurdish officials who helped organize the Kurdish vote.
According to Asharq Al-Awsat sources, several countries proposed mediation between Erbil and Baghdad to begin new negotiations.
Kurdistan Region’s Presidency (KRP) announced that British Defense Secretary, Michael Fallon has sent a letter to President Masoud Barzani urging the Kurdistan Region to reach a solution with Baghdad and other neighboring countries over the Kurdish independence referendum.
“Now that the referendum has taken place, I would urge you to engage constructively with Baghdad and your other neighbors and strive for a mutually agreeable solution in a measured and calm manner,” the statement quoted Fallon.
Fallon reportedly called for continued cooperation between Peshmerga and Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS.
On Saturday, Iraqi Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Othman al-Ghanemi arrived in Tehran, Iran to coordinate military cooperation and efforts. Upon his arrival, Ghanemi met with Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces of Iran Major General Mohammad Bagheri.
Ghanemi thanked Iran for its continuous military support and stated that he is convinced Iran will continue to support Iraq till the end.
He also delivered a letter from President Abadi to Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.