Iraq to start repatriating citizens caught in Belarus border crisis

Several Iraqis have told that a lack of economic prospects and security instability were behind their desire to leave Iraq and head for Europe. (AFP)

Iraq estimates 571 citizens are stuck on the Poland-Belarus border and will take those who are ready to return “voluntarily” amid a standoff between the EU and US on one side and Belarus and Russia on the other.

Iraq has said it was organising a repatriation flight for its citizens stuck on the Poland-Belarus border on a “voluntary” basis.

Iraqi foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed al Sahaf made the announcement on Iraqi television overnight Sunday to Monday.

“Iraq will carry out a first flight for those who wish to return voluntarily on the 18th” of November from Belarus, he said.

The spokesman did not say how many people would be able to board the Minsk-Baghdad flight.

However, he did say Iraq recorded 571 of its citizens stuck on the border who have said they are ready to return “voluntarily”.

Several Iraqis have told AFP that a lack of economic prospects and security instability were behind their desire to leave.

Thousands of migrants from the Middle East, including many from Iraq, are camped out on the EU-Belarus border.

Western countries accuse Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s government of engineering the crisis by encouraging migrants to come to Belarus and then taking them to the border.

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About Cholo Brooks 15844 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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