Iraq: Organizes a first Iraqi repatriation flight on Thursday

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The Iraqi government announced on Thursday that it would launch a first flight on a “voluntary basis” for the repatriation of Iraqi migrants on the border between Belarus and Poland.

“Iraq will make a first flight for those wishing to return voluntarily on the 18th of this month,” Belarus said in a statement issued Friday stating “Foreign Minister Ahmed al-Sahaf” had spoken to Iraqi state television overnight.

He did not specify how many would board the flight from Minsk to Baghdad. Iraq “has registered 571 Iraqis” stranded on the border between Poland and Belarus, who say they are ready to return “voluntarily” to Iraq, Sahaf explained.

These Iraqis, most of whom come from the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, are part of a group of thousands of migrants from the Middle East who have fled to the border between Belarus and Poland, a member of the European Union.

Regular air services between Baghdad and Minsk have been suspended since August, and the Belarusian consulates in Baghdad and Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, have been closed for more than a week.

These measures, Sahaf explained, “have reduced Iraqi travel (to Belarus), but the problem is that some now go there by indirect flights, passing through Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt “.

Immigrants from Iraqi Kurdistan say they are escaping the economic hardship and instability of their region, which is located in northern Iraq.

Some of them, who were interviewed by Agence France-Presse, say they want to enter Poland and then head to Germany or Britain in the hope of finding better economic prospects there.

What will be the fate of these people is due to the stalemate in relations between the EU and the US, on the one hand, and on the other hand, Belarus, which is supported by its ally Russia.

European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schoinas is due in Baghdad today to discuss the migration crisis.

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Source From: Capital

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