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Iraq, EU discuss irregular migration file

Foreign Minister of Iraq Fuad Hussein in Baghdad, Iraq on December 07, 2021. [Wisam Zeyad Mohammed - Anadolu Agency]
Foreign Minister of Iraq Fuad Hussein in Baghdad, Iraq on 7 December 2021 [Wisam Zeyad Mohammed/Anadolu Agency]

Iraq and the European Union have discussed the issue of irregular migration and curbing smuggling networks as well as Baghdad's steps to return Iraqi citizens wishing to voluntarily return from Europe, Anadolu news agency reported.

This came during a meeting between Iraqi Foreign Minister, Fouad Hussein, and the European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, held on the sidelines of the sixth Brussels Conference for Syria and the region yesterday.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Hussein reviewed "the latest measures taken by the Iraqi government to help Iraqis wishing to voluntarily return to the homeland."

Programmes to encourage the voluntary return of Iraqis whose residency requests had been rejected in European countries must be supported, it said. Returnees must be rehabilitated and reintegrated into their communities, the statement added.

READ: UK serves refugees with official notice they are 'under consideration' for deportation to Rwanda

Hussein,  the statement continued, presented "a summary of the steps taken by the Iraqi government to curb smuggling networks and the role of national authorities to increase societal awareness regarding migration."

For her part, Johansson stressed on the depth and strength of relations between the two sides, praising Iraq's role in eliminating Daesh.

She also praised Iraq's cooperation with the European Union to curb illegal immigration and limit its negative consequences, as well as the Iraqi government's efforts to combat smuggling networks and facilitate the voluntary return of migrants.

Many Iraqis have fled their country during the last three decades due to successive wars as well as security and economic instability in the country.  Most sought refuge in Europe through dangerous smuggling routes.

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