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Iraqi lawmakers ask government to recover oilfields from Kurds

IANS | Baghdad |

The lower house of the Iraqi parliament voted on Wednesday to ask the government to recover control over oilfields in territory that is claimed both by Baghdad and the autonomous northern region of Kurdistan.

The decision came hours after the Kurdistan administration announced that 92.73 per cent of the 4 million people who took part in Monday’s referendum on independence from Iraq voted “yes.”

Besides seizing oilfields, Wednesday’s parliamentary measure urged the government to take all constitutional and legal measures to “maintain the integrity of Iraq and to defend its citizens,” Efe reported.

Other provisions call for legal action against Kurdish officials involved in the referendum, closing border checkpoints and rejecting dialogue with Kurdistan unless the referendum result is nullified.

Lawmakers also urged the Iraqi government to summon ambassadors from countries that have consulates or other missions in Kurdistan to request that they close or relocate those establishments.

On Tuesday, the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave the leaders of Kurdistan 72 hours to hand over control of airports in the autonomous region or face a ban on international flights.

Egypt Air and Lebanon-based Middle East Airlines said on Wednesday that they will suspend flights to and from Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.