U.S. to accept Iraqi refugees, Rice says

May 29, 2008 at 2:31 PM
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden, May 29 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pledged the United States will accept more refugees from Iraq, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said.

Reinfeldt said Rice indicated the United States would be prepared accept between 5,000 and 12,000 refugees from Iraq during his meeting with her in Stockholm, The Local reported Thursday.

Reinfeldt said Sweden has taken in more than 40,000 Iraqi refugees since 2003, more than the United States has accepted.

"It's worth noting that this is a country which has taken in less than 1,000, around 700 to 800," he said during a break in Thursday's International Compact with Iraq, an international conference to promote peace in the country.

Rice thanked Sweden for having provided its assistance to Iraqi refugees.

"Many Iraqis leave their homes and Sweden has been important in that regard," she said. "It is really appreciated, not only in Iraq, but also in the United States.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Iraq now has hope, The Local reported.

"For the first time Iraq has a chance to become fully integrated in the international community," he said, recommending the Iraqi government "spend its resources to improve life for its people."

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