Iraq reopens fortified Green Zone for publictext_fields
Baghdad: Iraq decided to reopen the entrances and streets of the fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad to traffic.
Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani, commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, Mohammed Mahmoud from Baghdad traffic police issued the directives so that the decision was made, Xinhua reported.
Located on the west bank of the Tigris River, the 10-square km strip houses the presidential palace, the Iraqi parliament, some main government buildings, and some foreign embassies.
Mahmoud said that the gates of Green Zone are now open from 5 a.m. (0200 GMT) to 7 p.m. (1600 GMT) local time. The decision came as a result of the improvement of the security situation in the Iraqi capital, and for the purpose of reducing traffic congestion, Xinhua reported citing Mahmoud.
"The opening of blocked streets inside the Green Zone and continuing removal of security checkpoints from many areas in Baghdad will contribute to reducing traffic congestion by about 40 per cent," he noted.
Previously, Iraqi governments repeatedly tried to reopen the Green Zone, but the precarious security situation and massive demonstrations over the past years forced the security authorities to keep the zone closed to the public.