Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Iraqi parliament urges Syria to cancel visa requirements

(Voices of Iraq) - The Iraqi parliament urged Syria on Tuesday to cancel its decision to impose a visa requirement on Iraqis seeking entering Syria, while Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent a senior official to Damascus to discuss this question.
"The parliament called on Syria during its first session of the second legislative term the Syrian government to cancel the visa requirement to be imposed on Iraqi nationals as of September 10," Member of the parliament Abdul Khaleq Zangana, the head of the displaced committee, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
"The Iraqi government is obliged to find a solution for the current crises facing the Iraqi refugees abroad," he also said, calling on the government and the U.N. Higher Commissioner for Refugees to take a quick action to solve the problem. The Syrian government decided last Thursday to impose a visa requirement on Iraqis seeking entering Syria as of September 10.
"The Syrian Foreign Minister Waleed al-Moualim informed his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zibari by telephone that his country decided to impose a visa requirement as of September 10, 2007, on Iraqi nationals seeking entry to Syria for economic, commercial and scientific purposes, and asked for the Iraqi government cooperation in this respect," the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said last Thursday.
The move is seen as an attempt by Syria, home to as many as 1.5 million Iraqi refugees, to reduce the flow of more than 30,000 Iraqi refugees every month. The MP said that the parliament sent a number of lawmakers to talk with the Syrian government in an attempt to cancel the decision, urging the Iraqi government to adopt measures to help Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan. Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Iraqi government Ali al-Dabagh told VOI "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent a senior envoy to Syria to avoid the negative repercussions of that decision on the Iraqi refugees."
Syria is one of the easiest countries for Iraqis to visit because they can stay up to six months then simply leave any border crossing and re-enter the country the same day to have a new six months' stay permit. It was unclear how the rules would affect Iraqis who try to enter Syria simply to take refuge.
Syria and Jordan host the largest number of the more than 2 million displaced Iraqis and both governments complain of the increasing burdens on their health and education infrastructures. Jordan has made it more difficult to Iraqis to enter in the past to help reduce the flow. During a visit to Syria last month, al-Maliki pledged to help Syria on the increasing flow of refugees from Iraq, most of them are living in the capital, Damascus, and the suburbs. Diplomatic relations were restored between Iraq and Syria in 2006.

Labels: , , , ,

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?