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Iraq's Central Bank reverses decision to close banks in Kurdish region

Iraqi Central Bank [Wikipedia]
Iraqi Central Bank, 9 August 2017 [Wikipedia]

Iraq's Central Bank yesterday cancelled its previous decision to close branches of private banks in the Kurdish region of the country, the Anadolu Agency reported.

The Central Bank had ordered the branches of private banks in the northern Kurdish region to close down within a week. It threatened to ban dollar sales if they did not abide by the decision.

The deadline for compliance was set as 14 November; after it passed the Central Bank reversed its decision saying it did not want to harm "citizens' interests" in the region.

It said that it had cancelled the decision based on the Parliament resolution issued on 12 October which banned harming the interests of people's basic needs in regard to the punishing measures taken against the region.

Baghdad imposed a number of measures against the region in response to the independence referendum held on 25 September.

Read: Iraq readies to take control of Kurdish-Syria border

Around 3.3 million residents of the Iraqi Kurdish region turned to the ballot boxes to vote for separation from Iraq. News reports said that the turnout rate was 72 per cent.

Final results showed nearly 93 per cent in favour of independence, and 7.3 per cent against.

The referendum stirred fears of a new regional conflict, with Baghdad putting pressure on Kurds to cancel their overwhelming vote for independence. Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani stepped down as a result of the increased tensions and the region's representatives have recently declared their support for a "united Iraq".

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