Iraqi Kurds seek to build civilian airport in Arbil
19 June 2003
ARBIL, Iraq, June 19 (AFP) - 19h23 - A group of members of the Arbil-based
Kurdish regional parliament on Thursday tabled a bill that would open the way
for the construction of a civilian airport on the western edge of this Kurdish
The draft law envisages building the airport on a site formerly used by the
ousted regime of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein as an airfield for emergency
landings of military aircraft.
The facility has been occasionally used by US troops that ousted Saddam in
The bill calls for the establishment of a body that would be in charge of the
project and awarding contracts to the firms that would build the airport in
cooperation with the US-led coalition now occupying Iraq.
Farsat Ahmad, secretary of the Kurdish parliament, said legislation to build
a civilian airport was needed because none of the laws enacted by the assembly,
and none of the Iraqi laws in force in Iraqi Kurdistan, had provision for such a
He said the local Kurdish administration would seek the coalition's help in
securing funds for the proposed airport.
Iraqi Kurdistan has been effectively autonomous since the aftermath of the
1991 Gulf War, with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union
of Kurdistan (PUK) sharing control of the area.
The two parties allied themselves with coalition forces that toppled the
The KDP, which controls Arbil, holds 51 seats in the regional parliament
elected in 1992 and the PUK 49, while five seats are reserved for Assyrian