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Iraq to allow foreigners in Kurdish territories to leave country via Baghdad

Baghdad airport will see foreigners from Iraqi-Kurdistan depart the country [AFP]

Date of publication: 2 October, 2017

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Iraq will relax strict visa rules to allow foreigners stranded in Iraqi-Kurdistan to leave the country, the interior ministry has said.

Iraq will allow foreigners stranded in Iraqi-Kurdistan to leave the country via Baghdad, the government said on Monday, after an international flight ban on the autonomous territories. 

Foreigners will be allowed to fly out of Baghdad even without federal visas, the interior minister said, despite previous restrictions on them entering Iraqi goverment controlled areas.

"Any person can leave the country via Baghdad without paying a fine or for an exit visa," Interior Minister Qassem al-Araji told journalists.

Baghdad ordered the suspension of international flights to and from Iraqi-Kurdistan from Friday in retaliation for an independence referendum in the territories last week, which was overwhelmingly backed by Iraqi-Kurds.

A top ministry official said he would facilitate journalist visas, which usually take at least a month to process, AFP reported.

Turkey and Iran which have their own large Kurdish populations have held military drills on the border.

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