Anders Lago

Swedish Mayor at US Congressional Hearing

The mayor of Södertälje, south of Stockholm, is in Washington to testify before an American congressional committee about how his town deals with more refugees from Iraq than does the United States.

Mayor Anders Lago is participating in a hearing conducted by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which includes members from both the American House of Representatives and the Senate. On the eve of the hearing Lago met Democrat presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama, who said he was ashamed the US didn’t take more responsibility for solving the Iraqi refugee problem.

Last year Södertälje, with a population of under 84,000, received around 1200 asylum seekers from Iraq. Sweden has taken in around 40,000 Iraqi refugees since the war there began five years ago.

On Thursday Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt formally confirmed Sweden will be hosting a United Nations conference on Iraq next month. The meeting is intended to discuss the support of the international community for Iraq’s development.

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