Creating new perspectives since 2009

Iraq, Lithuania seek to end crisis of stranded migrants on EU borders

January 16, 2022 at 2:55 pm

Migrants continue to wait at a closed area allocated by Belarusian government the Belarusian-Polish border in Grodno, Belarus on November 28, 2021 [Sefa Karacan / Anadolu Agency]

Iraq and Lithuania held talks on Sunday to discuss ways of ending the crisis of Iraqi migrants stranded on Belarusian-Lithuanian border, reported Anadolu Agency.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein met with his Lithuanian counterpart Gabrielius Landsbergis, who arrived in the capital Baghdad earlier Sunday.

“Iraq was able to return 4,000 Iraqis, who were stranded on Belarus’ border with Lithuania and Poland,” Hussein told a press conference following his talks with Landsbergis.

He said there are still some Iraqi migrants stranded on the border, without giving an exact number.

“They will be returned to Iraq voluntarily upon their approval,” he added.

Read: Belarus forcefully deports wanted Syrians back to Assad regime

Landsbergis, for his part, said Iraq was the first country to stop flights with Belarus to stop the influx of migrants on the EU border.

He said his talks in Iraq also dwelt on ways of boosting bilateral cooperation in various fields.

Since August, the EU countries bordering Belarus – Lithuania, Latvia and Poland – have reported a dramatically growing number of irregular crossings.

Over 8,000 people have tried to enter the bloc via the Belarus-EU border so far in 2012, up sharply from just 150 last year.

According to the EU, Belarus reaches out to potential travelers through seemingly official channels, including diplomatic missions and travel agencies, and invites them to Belarus by offering them visas. They are then allegedly guided to the EU border.

‘It’s deadly’: Syrian doctor in Poland warns migrants against journey through Belarus