Iraq to Evacuate Citizens from Belarus

Iraq announced Thursday the launch of commercial flights to evacuate its citizens from Belarus, and also suspended flights to Minsk over concerns regarding smuggling of Iraqi migrants to European countries.

The decision was taken amid mounting calls to address the plight of hundreds of refugees and migrants, mainly from the Middle East, that have gathered on the border to cross into Poland in hope to seek asylum there.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said it will issue passports for its citizens who willingly wish to return to Iraq from Belarus.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said that Iraq has taken all measures to protect Iraqi citizens who have been victims of smuggling networks.

In a statement, the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in the Russian Federation announced the organization of an evacuation for Iraqi citizens who are willing to return from Belarus to Iraq. They also post a WhatsApp number and email address for the Iraqi nationals.

The Iraqi embassy in Minsk also posted WhatsApp numbers and email addresses for their citizens who wish to be added to the evacuation list.

According to Belarus authorities, some 2,000 people, mainly from the Middle East, are currently at the camp on the border with Poland.

The European Union countries accused Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko of luring the migrants to Belarus and sending them across the border, as what they describe in a revenge for sanctions imposed on the country last year.   

Moreover, the UN Security Council is expected to meet today (Thursday) for emergency talks on the migrant crisis after the international appeals to deal with the plight. 

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