ALSO READForeigners scramble out of Iraqi Kurdistan ahead of retaliatory flight ban Erdogan sees Israel's Mossad hand in Iraqi Kurdistan's independence vote Kurds seek independence in vote on Monday despite regional fears Oil climbs as tensions rise over Iraqi Kurdistan's vote of independence 92% Kurds vote in favour of independence from Iraq: Officials
Iraq today authorised foreigners stranded in Iraqi Kurdistan after an international flight ban to leave the country via Baghdad despite not having a federal visa. Foreigners who had entered the northern autonomous region on regional visas not recognised by Baghdad could previously not travel to other parts of Iraq. "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 on Friday in retaliation for the Kurds voting for independence earlier last week. A top ministry official said he would facilitate journalist visas, which usually take at least a month to process. Iraqi Kurds gave a resounding 92.7-per cent "yes" vote for independence in last Monday's non-binding referendum, which has also sent regional tensions soaring.