Iraq has decided to reopen a second airport, in the southern city of Basra, despite the UN embargo imposed on it in 1990, the Iraqi newspaper Al-Rafidain said Tuesday.
"The repair work on Basra airport is about finished," the paper said, quoting a transport ministry official who asked not to be identified. "After it is reopened, Basra airport will be able to greet 1.5 million passengers per year," the paper added.
The announcement follows the reopening of Saddam Hussein international airport in Baghdad Thursday, which had been idle for 10 years because of the UN sanctions imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in August 1990.
A Russian Yak-22 airplane, which flew in Saturday, was the first international flight to arrive at the airport.
Iraq maintains that the sanctions do not bar civilian flights, and permanent members of the UN Security Council are divided over whether the UN sanctions committee must approve the flights.
France says that simple notification of a flight suffices, while the United States and Britain say the aircraft must first obtain permission from the committee.
Hundreds of prominent Frenchmen said at the beginning of August that they will charter a plane to fly from Paris to Baghdad September 29 to "violate" the air embargo. – (AFP)
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