Middle East

Iraq halts working permit of Belarus Consulate in Baghdad

Move comes amid migration crisis on Belarusian-Polish border

Ammar El Khalfi and Cagri Kosak   | 13.11.2021
Iraq halts working permit of Belarus Consulate in Baghdad


Iraq announced on Friday that it is "temporarily" halting the Belarus Consulate's working permit in Baghdad amid an ongoing migration crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border.

"This step comes to protect Iraqi citizens from human smuggling networks through Russia and Poland," said Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Al-Sahhaf, according to an Iraqi News Agency report.

"The Iraqi embassy in Moscow and Warsaw are coordinating Iraq's efforts for the voluntary return of those stranded on the Belarus-Poland border," according to Al-Sahhaf, who said, "Iraq has stopped direct flights between Iraq and Belarus."

According to the latest EU figures, 7,935 people tried to enter the bloc via the Belarus-EU border in 2021, up sharply from just 150 last year.

Polish authorities stepped up border protection Monday and mobilized more than 12,000 troops after a large group of migrants started marching toward the country's frontier with Belarus accompanied by the Belarusian military.

*Writing and contribution by Merve Aydogan in Ankara

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