Kurdish officials meet with Lithuania's FM Gabrielius Landsbergis

"We had an excellent exchange of views on a number of issues of mutual interest covering future bilateral ties."
Lithuania's FM Gabrielius Landsbergis met with Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani on Monday (Photo: Safeen Dizayee/Twitter).
Lithuania's FM Gabrielius Landsbergis met with Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani on Monday (Photo: Safeen Dizayee/Twitter).

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis had meetings with senior Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials on Monday to discuss illegal migration.

"It was a pleasure to receive Lithuania's FM @GLandsbergis & his accompanying delegation with my colleagues at DFR (Department of Foreign Relations)," Safeen Dizayee, Head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), tweeted after the meeting. 

"We had an excellent exchange of views on a number of issues of mutual interest covering future bilateral ties & avenues of increasing cooperation in various fields."

Landsbergis and his delegation also met Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani.

"A timely discussion (between Barzani and Landsbergis) on current political issues, migration, tackling human trafficking and enhancing cooperation esp in vocational training and higher education," Dizayee tweeted.

On Sunday, Landsbergis also met with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein. They also discussed illegal immigration and procedures to facilitate the voluntary return of migrants to their country.

Read More: Iraq says 4,000 migrants stranded in Eastern Europe have returned so far

"We were able to return 4,000 Iraqis who were trapped on the Belarusian-Lithuanian, Belarusian-Polish, and Latvian borders," Hussein noted, adding that a number of Iraqis are still in Lithuania. Baghdad is awaiting their voluntary return.

Thousands of Kurds have attempted to reach Western Europe through Belarus, often with the help of smugglers.

European countries have urged Baghdad and Erbil to stop flights and crack down on smugglers.

In an interview last month with Kurdistan 24, Dizayee said that the migrants had been the victims of the criminal smuggling networks that brought them to the European borders. 

Read More: Nearly 2000 migrants have returned to Iraq: KRG Official

The KRG has conducted a number of arrests to disrupt these criminal networks, he added.