245 Egyptians in Iraq return home following unrest
AFP/Safin Hamed

CAIRO: On Friday 245 Egyptian workers returned to Cairo, having fled the struggle between the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group and the Iraqi government,  MENA reported.

Orascom Construction Company repatriated its workers due to the ongoing unrest between the Sunni ISIL and the Shiite government in Mosul and Tikrit (North of Iraq) which was controlled by the ISIL, MENA added.

Orascom has many investments in Iraq; in Feb. 2012, Iraqi government approved a $363 million contract with company for building 1,014 megawatt gas power plant in Baiji, according to Al-Ahram; the Baiji is located near an oil refinery controlled by the militants, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty told The Cairo Post “there is cooperation between Egyptian concerned bodies and the Iraqi counterparts to preserve the Egyptian expatriates’ lives,” but he declined to give an exact figure for how many Egyptians were in Iraq.

The outgoing Minister of Manpower Nahed a-Ashry told Youm7 Friday that the ministry coordinates with the Iraqi Foreign Ministry to assist the repatriation of Egyptians. She noted, however, that the number of Egyptian laborers in Iraq is small, comparing to those in Saudi Arabia and Libya.

The Geneva-based International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Wednesday that around 500,000 Iraqis fled their homes in Mosul, adding that the violence “has resulted in a high number of casualties among civilians,” AFP reported.

Jordan is also in contact with Iraqi authorities to secure arrivals of Jordanian citizens to the kingdom due to the Iraqi situation, MENA said on Friday.

Fitch Ratings said in press statement Thursday evening that seizure of Mosul and Tikrit does not represent a direct threat to the Iraqi’s oil production or the ratings of Western investment-grade oil companies.

“The conflict is closest to Iraqi Kurdistan, where many Western companies including Afren (B+/Stable) have production. However, due to ongoing disagreements between Baghdad and the Kurdish regional government, legal hurdles to export of Iraqi crude remain, and therefore production is a fraction of the potential output,” the statement read.

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