Iraq has lifted the ban on international flights to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region’s airports, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday. Kurdistan’s regional airports will be under the command of the federal Interior Ministry, according to the prime minister’s statement. The ban on international 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. Al-Abadi’s announcement came following a meeting with police officers and employees at the Kurdish airports. “The local authorities in Kurdistan Region reciprocated to returning the federal authority to Erbil and Sulaimaniyah airports,” the statement said.