Iraq to begin repatriation of its nationals from Belarus

This week, a Minsk-Baghdad repatriation flight will begin the return of Iraqi nationals currently in Belarus seeking, but not allowed to cross into the EU, Belgian news portal EurActiv reports.
Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ahmed al-Sahaf unveiled to Iraqi television earlier this week: «Iraq will carry out a first flight for those who wish to return voluntarily on the 18th [of November from Belarus]».
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Al-Sahaf did not state how many people would be able to board the Minsk-Baghdad flight; however, according to him, Iraq had recorded 571 of its citizens stuck on the border who have said they are ready to return voluntarily.
Since August, regular air traffic between Baghdad and Minsk has been stopped, while Belarusian diplomatic missions in Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, have been closed for more than a week. The steps «have reduced the trips by Iraqis [to Belarus], but the problem is that some are now taking indirect flights, passing through Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and Egypt,» Sahaf noted, according to EurActiv.