EU Urges Iraq To Curb Illegal Migration Through Lithuania's Territory

EU Urges Iraq to Curb Illegal Migration Through Lithuania's Territory

European Council President Charles Michel has asked Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to fulfill a bilateral agreement on preventing illegal migrants from Iraq from going to the European Union, particularly through Lithuania, an EU source told reporters on Tuesday

BRUSSELS (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 20th July, 2021) European Council President Charles Michel has asked Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to fulfill a bilateral agreement on preventing illegal migrants from Iraq from going to the European Union, particularly through Lithuania, an EU source told reporters on Tuesday.

"Following the visit of the Lithuanian Foreign Minister last week, President of European Council counts on Iraq's engagement to take decisive action. President of European Council called to enhance Iraq's cooperation on return and readmission from EU member states as a joint commitment in the EU-Iraq Partnership and Cooperation Agreement," the source said.

Michel spoke with Al-Kadhimi by videocall and then tweeted that they discussed "situation at the Lithuania and Belarus border," adding that migration is a "key area" of the cooperation between Brussels and Baghdad.

For the past few weeks, Lithuania has been accusing Belarus of facilitating the transit of illegal migrants through its territory into the EU. The Lithuanian border guard service claims that 2,096 illegal immigrants have tried to enter Lithuania from Belarus this year so far, which is 26 times more than in the whole of 2020.

On July 2, the Lithuanian government declared an emergency and began to seek assistance from its EU partners in handling the migration crisis. On the same day, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that his country will not contain the flow of illegal migrants to the EU any longer, as it does not have enough capacity due to the EU sanctions imposed on Minsk. He later agreed to cooperate on a paid basis.