Egypt limits immigration of Iraqis

Egypt has tightened the procedures for Iraqis entering the country, seeking to stem a flow of people seeking refuge from the war. Instead of obtaining visas at points of entry such as Cairo airport, Iraqis will now have to apply in advance through Egyptian consulates abroad. Senior Foreign Ministry official Mahmoud Aouf told parliament: “This decision is due to the nature of the security circumstances accompanying the entry of Iraqis into Egypt at this stage. The sensitivities of Egyptian national security requirements must be respected.”

After Jordan and Syria, Egypt is top destination for Iraqis seeking refuge. The Iraqi embassy estimates about 120,000 Iraqis have moved to Egypt since the 2003 invasion, although only about 5,000 have registered as refugees with the UNHCR. About 700,000 Iraqis have fled to Jordan and more than 400,000 to Syria. Others have gone to Lebanon, Turkey and Iran. (Reuters, April 5)

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