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Readout of Prime Minister Masrour Barzani’s phone call with Polish Prime Minister

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) - Prime Minister Masrour Barzani spoke by phone today with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to discuss the situation at the border between Poland and Belarus.

Prime Minister Barzani expressed his serious concern about the safety and wellbeing of citizens from the Kurdistan Region caught up in this situation, including children. Prime Minister Barzani stressed that was not a migrant issue, but a criminal human trafficking issue, with the migrants exploited by criminal networks and caught in a dispute between Belarus and the European Union. He recalled that the Kurdistan Region is home to almost a million displaced persons.

During the call, the two Prime Ministers discussed ways to address the situation. They agreed that migrants have been deceived by organised traffickers. Both leaders described the migrants as victims of organised crime. Prime Minister Morawiecki welcomed measures taken to disrupt the criminal networks in the Kurdistan Region, including tougher restrictions at airports and border and arrests of those who have been involved in the trafficking of vulnerable families. They also discussed efforts with the federal government in Baghdad and other partners to facilitate the voluntary return home of stranded families, including the first flight of returnees today to Erbil and Baghdad.

Prime Minister Barzani welcomed the establishment of a joint technical team to determine additional measures to disrupt the networks. He called on all the parties – Belarus, Poland and the EU – to abide by their international obligations and in particular to facilitate immediate humanitarian access by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Both leaders agreed to stay in close contact.