Iraq to Belarus flights suspended over EU migrant crisis
All Iraqi Airways flights to Minsk, Belarus, were suspended for seven days, beginning August 5, 2021. The move came after the illegal migrant crisis emerged at the Lithuania-Belarus border in July 2021.
“We draw the attention of our valued travelers that we are stopping flights to Minsk (Belarus),” read the Iraqi Airways statement published on August 5, 2021.
The Iraqi flag-carrier added that the airline would suspend operations between Baghdad and Minsk for seven days, beginning August 5, 2021. However, according to Flightradar24.com data, Iraqi Airways still conducted the Minsk-bound flight on August 6, 2021.
The Lithuanian government was involved in negotiations with Iraqi government in an effort to temporarily suspend flights from Iraq to Belarus, which allegedly contributed to the illegal migrant crisis happening at Lithuania-Belarus border.
The European Union was also involved in talks with Iraqi officials in trying to tackle the illegal migrant crisis allegedly flowing from Iraq through Minsk to Lithuania. On August 4, 2021, the European Union ambassador to Iraq, Martin Huth, told BNS News Agency that “very reliable” sources told him that all flights from Iraq to Belarus would probably be cancelled for the next ten days.
According to the Lithuanian government, 4,110 illegal migrants crossed the Lithuania-Belarus border in the months of July and August 2021.
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