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Kurdistan says Baghdad sanctions paralyzed tourism

Kurdistan says Baghdad sanctions paralyzed tourism
Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s authorities said Sunday that tourism activity in the autonomous region has been brought to a total halt coinciding with border closures and air embargos imposed over the region’s recent referendum on independence from Iraq.

Aram Jabbar, a spokesperson of Kurdistan’s tourism authority, was quoted by Baghdad Today saying “most of the region’s summer resorts, theme parks and gardens have become almost empty”, adding that the situation affects hundreds of families whose income resources rely on tourism.

“Following Baghdad’s decision to halt flights and tourist journeys from Baghdad, central Euphrates cities, and the south to Erbil, tourism activity was totally paralyzed, with the owners of hotels, restaurants and companies working in that field suffering huge losses,” Aram said. “We hold the government in Baghdad fully responsible”.

Tourists from Baghdad and southern Iraq account for nearly 80 percent of incoming tourism in Kurdistan.

Iraq has imposed a set of penal measures against Kurdistan Region’s government as the latter held a referendum on independence from the Baghdad-based, Arab-led government on September 25th.

The autonomous region’s electoral commission had said 92 percent voted for independence.

Baghdad has assured that sanctions were meant at Kurdish officials rather than citizens. “You are citizens of the first degree, we will not allow any harm to you and we will share our loaf of bread together,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said, addressing Kurds via twitter late Saturday.

Iraq, Turkey and Iran have closed their border areas and airspaces with the region, Baghdad had also ordered Erbil to hand over the administration of airports falling inside the region as well as control over petroleum resources and revenues. An embargo on international flights to and from Kurdistan went into force late Friday.
Updated 11 Oct 2017 | Soruce: Iraqi News |
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