Wednesday, September 28, 2022

UAE bans some travelers from the Middle East from flights to Belarus

BAGHDAD (NWN) — The United Arab Emirates has banned travelers from several Middle Eastern countries from boarding flights to Belarus, cutting off one of the last major air routes to a nation on the European Union’s eastern border.

The decision, reported Monday by travel agencies in Iraq and Belarus carriers, appeared to be in response to diplomatic pressure to stem the tide of migrants who have made their way into Belarus, with thousands stranded on Belarus-Polish resulting in A humanitarian crisis has arisen. Limit in cold weather. At least nine have died.

The development came as the European Union agreed on Monday to slap President Alexander Lukashenko on airlines accused of aiding a “hybrid attack” against a bloc that uses migrants to put pressure on Belarus.

Thousands of people from the Middle East, many of whom are Iraqis and Syrians, are trying to enter the EU this year through a backdoor opened by non-EU member Belarus.

In recent months, Belarus began offering easier tourist visas to Iraqis, Syrians and others from the Middle East and Africa. This meant that they could now reach the edge of Europe on comfortable flights to Belarus, then try to sneak into Poland, Lithuania or Latvia, all EU members.

But several airlines have either suspended flights or stopped selling tickets to passengers from Iraq and Syria in response to the crisis at the border.

A travel agent in Baghdad shared a memo from low-cost FlyDubai Airlines with The Associated Press on Monday, announcing that citizens of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan would be barred from boarding its flights to Minsk. were banned, requesting that no tickets be sold to these citizens. Country.

“We are committed not to sell tickets,” said Baghdad travel agent Yasser al-Lami, who said he was not selling tickets to Minsk even after the situation at the border worsened. “I cannot send the passengers to the unknown and (their) death,” he said.

Belarusian airline, Belavia, said in a statement on Sunday that it would strengthen the verification of documents during check-in for flights from Dubai in a bid to ban citizens of four countries from boarding flights in the United Arab Emirates. The decision of the competent authorities has been cited in this. Minsk.

“Subject to this restriction, passengers can return their tickets at the place of purchase,” it said.

Flydubai did not comment directly on the ban, but said in a statement to the NWN that it “only carries passengers with the correct documents and entry requirements for travel to Belarus.”

“Fly Dubai complies with all international regulations and we have open discussions with the relevant authorities,” the company said.

Flight options from the region to Minsk for passengers were already shrinking. Turkey said on Friday it was suspending airline tickets for Iraqis, Syrians and Yemenis wishing to travel to Belarus. Citing that decision, Belarusian airline Belavia said it would not give tickets to citizens of those countries on its Istanbul-Minsk flight.

Syrian airline Cham Wings said in a statement later this week that it had suspended flights from Damascus to Minsk in response to the situation at the Belarusian-Polish border.

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Associated Press writer John Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates contributed reporting.

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Nation World News Desk
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