Kurdistan, Poland prime ministers talk migrant crisis
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, in a phone call with Poland Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, discussed the migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarus border and "ways to address the situation."
The call came as a group of 431 migrants on a flight from Belarus Thursday arrived in the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil.
Barzani "expressed his serious concern about the safety and wellbeing of citizens from the Kurdistan Region caught up in this situation, including children," a statement from his office said.
The Kurdish premier said that the crisis "was not a migrant issue, but a criminal human trafficking issue, with the migrants [being] 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."
Barzani and Morawiecki agreed that "migrants have been deceived by organized traffickers" and described "the migrants as victims of organized crime."
From his end, the Polish official 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," the statement added.
The two leaders shed light on Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) "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."
Barzani also welcomed "the establishment of a joint technical team to determine additional measures to disrupt the networks.."
He also called on all 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."