Kurdistan Parliament: 300 Kurds will be repatriated on today's flight from Minsk; more to follow

Kurdistan Parliament: 300 Kurds will be repatriated on today's flight from Minsk; more to follow

 Shafaq News/ The Kurdistan Region has begun operating flights to repatriate Kurdish migrants stranded at the Belarusian borders with the European Union (EU) countries and wish to return to their homeland.

In a statement to Shafaq News Agency, the rapporteur of the Relations and Kurdish Diaspora Committee in the Kurdistan Region's Parliament, Rebwar Babkayi, said, "we have been in contact with the Kurdish migrants over the past few days. Many Kurds wish to come back. A flight will arrive there today, and many will follow."

"The Kurdistan Regional Government will continue to repatriate all those who wish to come back voluntarily," he continued, "the Government will pay the expenses of their repatriation in coordination with the Federal Government. The Regional Government will work to make it free."

"The visas of some families have expired. Some others lost their passport. A family contacted us to return, but the Belarusian police did not allow them to reach Minsk to board the flight," he added, "we are working to resolve this issue." 

"Three hundred citizens boarded the flight today. Many more wish to return. We pledge to repatriate them all."

Earlier this week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahaf said in a statement, "We have 170 people wishing to return voluntarily to Iraq and have given us 55 passports so far."

 He indicated, "our diplomatic staff is now completing logistical coordination with the airport authorities in Minsk to operate the exceptional flight and return the stranded."

The government of Iraq said Monday it will begin arranging the first repatriation flight for citizens wishing to leave Belarus.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed al-Sahaf told local media that the first flight would be scheduled on Thursday.

"Iraq will carry out the first flight for those who wish to return voluntarily on the 18th," he told Iraqi television.

Iraqi Airlines suspended its service between Baghdad and Minsk in August. However, it has now been authorized to operate one-way flights from Minsk to Baghdad in response to those who found themselves stuck at the border, according to an airline spokesperson.

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