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 Foreigners who enter Iraq through Kurdistan without Baghdad visa face arrest in the Arab part of Iraq

 Source : AFP | Agencies
  Kurd Net does not take credit for and is not responsible for the content of news information on this page

 


Foreigners who enter Iraq through Kurdistan without Baghdad visa face arrest in the Arab part of Iraq  9.2.2009




Foreigners feel save in Kurdistan, face arrest outside Kurdistan

February 9, 2009


BAGHDAD, — Foreigners who enter Iraq through Kurdistan autonomous region in Iraq's north without a visa issued by the authorities in Baghdad will face arrest and legal charges in Iraq, outside Kurdistan region, the Iraqi interior ministry warned on Monday.

The announcement came after an Italian national was detained in the former rebel stronghold of Fallujah,
www.ekurd.net in western Iraq, after having been issued with a 10-day visa in the autonomous Kurdish north of the country.

"Any foreigner entering Iraq through the border posts of Kurdistan without a visa from the Baghdad government will be arrested," under a new directive issued by the interior ministry, spokesman Abdul Karim Khalaf said.

"Foreigners wishing to visit Iraqi territory, whether they are journalists or others, must obtain an official visa to carry out their activities in Iraq," he said.

"The interior ministry is the only authority entitled" to issue such a visa, the spokesman said.

Under the law, foreigners without the proper visa from Baghdad will face legal charges, he said. They would be "sentenced to fines or prison terms, to be followed by deportation."

However, an official of the autonomous government in Kurdistan (KRG), Falah Mustapha, said the region's visa procedures were being coordinated with the authorities in Baghdad.

Foreigners are unlikely to be arrested under the new visa rules in the three autonomous Kurdish provinces,
www.ekurd.net where the Kurdish peshmerga instead of the central government's security forces are in control.

On Friday, the New York Times reported that a 33-year-old Italian, Luca Marchio, had been detained in Fallujah after having passed through northern Iraq, outside Kurdistan region, following trips to Egypt and Turkey.

"I am a tourist. I want to see the most important cities in the country. That is the reason why I am here now ... I want to see and understand the reality because I have never been here before," he told the daily.

Khalaf told AFP the Italian was deported after having been detained.

Since 1991, the Kurds of Iraq achieved self-rule in part of the country. Today's teenagers are the first generation to grow up under Kurdish rule. Most Kurds don’t speak Arabic, especially the younger generation.

In the new Iraqi Constitution, it is referred to as Kurdistan region. Kurdistan region has all the trappings of an independent state -- its own constitution, its own parliament, its own flag, its own army, its own border patrol, its own national anthem, its own education system, its own International airports, even its own stamp inked into the passports of visitors.

Copyright, respective author or news agency, AFP | Agencies

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