Kurdistan leadership claims that Minsk has used migrants to put pressure on the EU

5 mins

На русском языке: Руководство Курдистана заявило, что Минск использовал мигрантов для давления на ЕС
На беларускай мове: Кіраўніцтва Курдыстана заявіла, што Мінск выкарыстоўваў мігрантаў для ціску на ЕС

Masrour Barzani, the Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, gave an interview to Sky News Arabia in which he said that none of the Kurdish migrants in Belarus were trying to escape to the EU «because of poverty» in Kurdistan, they are simply used for political purposes.

Barzani said the migrants paid the smugglers thousands of dollars to transport them to Belarus, where they «were then used by the Belarusian government to pressure the European Union».

«I can assure that none of those migrants went to Belarus because of corruption or having pressure on them. Those who went to Belarus didn’t go there because they can’t find jobs here; they went there because they were tricked by smugglers and used for political purposes», – Kurdistan Prime Minister said.

A little later, Safeen Dizayee, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government Foreign Relations Department, also said that migrants were victims of criminal smuggling networks that brought Iraqis to European borders. According to him, several people involved in the smuggling of migrants to Belarus have already been detained. In addition, he said that about 2,000 Iraqi citizens have already returned to Iraq, while the same number of Kurds are still in Belarus and its border areas with Poland. He did not report anything about new evacuation flights from Belarus.

According to historian Alexander Friedman, Dizayee’s statements with the actual summing up of the results of the evacuation and Barzani’s harsh expressions in an interview for a vast Arab audience may indicate that the evacuation of the Kurds from Belarus has been suspended, or may be completely stopped.    

Updated 17:45

Ali Abbas, the spokesperson of Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement, told NRT publication that tomorrow, on Tuesday, the last evacuation flight will take place to return stranded Iraqi migrants on the Belarusian-Polish border.

«The total number of migrants who wish to return voluntarily to the country is 3.000 people»,– he said.

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