Baghdad has since mid-November repatriated nearly 4,000 Iraqi migrants stranded on the borders of Belarus with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, all three members of the European Union, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday.
Since November 18, the Iraqi government has organized “ten flights from Baghdad to Belaruswhich, on their return, transported the Iraqis to their homes, said Fouad Hussein, head of Iraqi diplomacy, during a press briefing in Baghdad with his Lithuanian counterpart Gabrielius Landsbergis, who is visiting Iraq. In total, “we were able to repatriate around 4,000 Iraqis who were stuck on the borders of Belarus with Poland, Lithuania and LatviaMr. Hussein continued.
In details, “in the last two months (…), 3,817 Iraqi migrants have been repatriated from Belarus and 112 from Lithuania“, then told AFP Ahmed al-Sahaf, spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Planes usually first land in Iraqi Kurdistan, where many migrants originate, before continuing on to Baghdad.
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According to Ahmed al-Sahaf a number of Iraqi migrants are still stuck in Belarus, but “the difficult weather and the complex nature of the environment do not allow the rescuers to determine their numbers“.
The Lithuanian minister, who later met Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazimi, said he wanted to “bring new ideas on ways to cooperatewith Iraq.
Since last summer, thousands of migrants, mainly from the Middle East and in particular from Iraq, have crossed or tried to cross, from Belarus, the eastern border of the European Union in Latvia, Lithuania or Poland. .
The West accuses Belarus of causing this crisis by luring migrants to the European border by issuing visas and with the promise of easy passage, in retaliation for EU sanctions – a charge Minsk denies.