2021.07.23 09:07

Despite pleas from Lithuania, Iraq to double flights to Minsk

BNS2021.07.23 09:07

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has called Iraq's plans to double the number of flights to Minsk "a bad tendency".

"I do not rule out that we will inform the Iraqi side about our serious concern that our initial request was not heard, well, for this situation to be taken seriously. [...] We have to admit it's a bad tendency," Landsbergis told journalists on Thursday.

He urged to wait for the arrival of an Iraqi delegation as "a key step in resolving the crisis", adding that the two countries could begin working on migrant returns.

Several days after Landsbergis’ visit to Baghdad earlier in July, Iraqi Airlines announced plans to double the number of flights from Baghdad to Minsk.

The airlines said in a Facebook post that the number of flights to the Belarusian capital would increase in August.

Read more: Baghdad to Lithuania: how Belarus opened new migration route to EU – LRT Investigation

The company's general manager Kafah Hassan said the decision was made based on the guidance of Transportation Minister Nasser Hussein Al-Shibli in response to increased demand.

Starting in August, the flights will take place on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Last week, Landsbergis said after his return from Baghdad that Iraq was cautious about the return of migrants to their country of origin.

Some 2,300 irregular migrants, mostly from Iraq, have been detained in Lithuania this year after crossing from Belarus.

Lithuania has now declared a state-level emergency, saying that the spike in migration is being facilitated by the Minsk regime and calling it “hybrid aggression”.

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