Foreign Ministry Official Spokesman: Al-Sahaf: We coordinated the return of thousands of Iraqis and devoted ourselves to national response diplomacy

Since the beginning of the crisis of the outbreak of the pandemic of Covid-19, the Foreign Ministry worked in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport to organize an air route to rescue Iraqi travelers stranded in countries where the pandemic has occurred, and we have also worked on forming crisis cells in cooperation with our embassies abroad to monitor the infected among the Iraqi communities, track their health conditions and secure supplies for their families to alleviate their suffering.

The Ministry of Transport, through its air fleet has worked in coordination with the Foreign Ministry and with the follow-up of Foreign Minister Mr. Mohamad A. Alhakim, to make extraordinary trips to return more than 3 thousand Iraqi citizens to the homeland, within just a week, after they were stranded in all parts of the world starting from India, to Turkey finally with the decision of the Aviation Authority to stop air transport.

Rescue trips

These efforts resulted in the return of 3659 Iraqi travelers from countries of the world, through four flights to Iraqis stranded in India, where 655 passengers were returned, and the Foreign Ministry followed up the conditions of Iraqis stranded in Egypt, and responded to their appeals through our embassy in Cairo, so three trips were organized during which 1083 passengers were transported from the Arab Republic of Egypt, and this coordination resulted in the return of 141 stranded passengers from the Russian Federation. Three exceptional flights were organized to transport 663 passengers stranded in Turkey, as well as the return of 530 passengers from Dubai Airport, 155 passengers from Beirut Airport, 308 passengers from Amman Airport, and the return of 115 passengers from Minsk Airport, the capital of Belarus.

The Ministry, through its embassies and consulates, has consistently implemented the directives of the Prime Minister and the ministerial and parliamentary committees to facilitate the task of returning Iraqis to the homeland, through continuous coordination with the Ministry of Transport, for the purpose of starting direct extraordinary trips and returning Iraqis who left the country during the past three months, and were not able to return due to the stoppage of air movement and in accordance with the decisions of the Diwan Order Committee (55) for the year 2020. An Iraqi deceased who passed away in Paris was transported at the expense of the Foreign Ministry.
The Iraqi embassies abroad have also worked to provide food aid and material supplies and the distribution of medicines, medical supplies to the people of the Iraqi community in Lebanon, and our embassies in Jordan have distributed food supplies to one thousand Iraqi families in coordination with the Jordanian Businessmen Council.

The Foreign Ministry and the epidemiological monitoring.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has monitored through our embassies, and according to the results it recorded infections among the Iraqi community in the United States 40, Norway 37, Sweden 22, Belgium 11, Jordan 11, Canada 10, Italy 7, UK 5, Austria 5, and Lebanon 2, the Netherlands 5, Saudi Arabia 2, and Denmark 3, 2 in the United Arab Emirates and Finland.
The death cases were distributed around the world to 9 deaths distributed as follows:
Two deaths in Sweden, 4 in UK, and one death in each of Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. On the other hand, 4 cases of recovery of were registered ,two cases in Canada, 5 in Jordan, and one in Iran.
Iraqi embassies around the world are following with interest the conditions of the Iraqi community to determine their safety and allocate hotlines to respond to their pleas and provide periodic briefings to the ministry related to the Iraqi community and Iraqi students. And concerning Iranian provinces. “There is no truth of the expulsion of 600 Iraqi students from Iran as our embassy in Tehran surrounds us with a detailed and periodic report every day on the conditions of the community and students in Iran, and accordingly, we called on the media to be accurate and investigate information from its official sources. Also, the Consulate General of the Republic of Iraq in Manchester hosted four Iraqi citizens who were visiting Manchester and were obtaining their degrees and were not able to get a hotel due to strict health measures taken by the British authorities, as many hotels were emptied to accommodate those infected with Coronavirus, as well as closing the airspace.

The Ambassador of Iraq to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan praised the exceptional cooperation shown by the officials in Karak Governorate, and the presidency of the University of Mu’tah for their response to the embassy appeals to provide the necessary supplies to Iraqi students.

Iraqi community conditions
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has intensified its efforts to learn about the conditions of the Iraqi community in more than 20 countries. We have made continuous contacts with our missions in New York, Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Malaysia, Tehran, Muscat, Damascus, Ankara, Moscow, Vienna , Athens, Rome, Paris, Brussels, Rabat, Cairo, Ahvaz, Delhi, Manila and Helsinki to see their conditions and take note of the measures they take in providing support and assistance to the Iraqi community, and to follow up the conditions of the Iraqi community in accordance with national and professional duty since the beginning of the crisis. We have been in touch with embassies and our ambassadors abroad, adding that necessary action is taken immediately to all correspondence received by the Foreign Ministry.

In an appeal to Iraqis all over the world through our embassies, we announced that we call on the attention of all the honorable members of the Iraqi community, residing in all countries of the world, that our embassies and consulates have formed crisis cells to confront the Coronavirus pandemic for the purpose of following up your affairs, providing your needs, and meeting your pleas, so please contact the embassy or consulate in the countries that you are residing in , and it has published on its official websites hotlines, social media accounts , and email address in which it can be reached.

For the original April 8, 2020 piece from Iraq Ministry of Foreign Affairs referenced in this summary, click here.