Iraq announces evacuating Iraqi nationals stuck in Belarus, hours after Baghdad suspended flights to Minsk amid worries over the smuggling of Iraqi migrants into EU member Lithuania via Belarus.
Iraqi Airways said in a statement it will be organizing flights to evacuate Iraqi nationals and migrants who got stuck in Belarus. It called on Iraqis willing to return back home to register their names to facilitate their return to Iraq.
Despite yesterday's reported statement of Ambasador Huth @EUAmbIraq, the flights from Iraq to Belarus continue.— Denis Kazakiewicz (@Den_2042) August 5, 2021
Spotted by @euroradio: FlyBaghdad flight is heading to Belarus right now. https://t.co/2b7gRVcFIc pic.twitter.com/dw8xT6kZRG
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said it will issue passports for Iraqis willing to return to Iraq from Belarus.
Baghdad has taken measures "to protect Iraqi citizens who have been victims of smuggling networks," Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said.
Last week, the EU said it is pressing Iraq to help stem the flow of Iraqi migrants to Belarus from where they find their way to Lithuania.
EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borell, said the stop of flights from Iraq to Belarus will stop illegal migration to a European country. But Baghdad said its flights to Belarus were legal as the Iraqis arrived in Belarus legally as tourists.
Flights from Iraq to Minsk will be cancelled within the next ten days— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) August 4, 2021
The Iraqi government has already formed a committee to investigate the smuggling of migrants into Lithuania through Belarus. pic.twitter.com/Ef6FzqTzfe
Reports say that since the start of the year, the Lithuanian border guards have caught more than 4,000 migrants, mostly from Iraq, compared to only 81 in 2020.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Copyright Andolu Ajansi