Assyrians Need Own Area in Iraq, Swedish Mayor Tells US Congress
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Stockholm (AINA) -- It's mission accomplished for Anders Lago, the mayor of the Swedish town of Södertälje. He has gone from an unknown mayor of a Stockholm suburb to a world voice on Iraqi refugees after his recent and well covered visit to the U.S, which was prompted by the flood of Assyrian refugees from Iraq who have besieged his town.

He testified before the U.S. Congress about the effect of the war in Iraq on Södertälje, and pointed out that Sweden did not start the war, but is still taking responsibility for the Iraqi refugees while the U.S has failed to offer any solutions so far.

Speaking to Assyrian-Swedish Radio Qolo after his return from the U.S., Mr. Lago explained that the Americans are increasingly aware of the troubles the Assyrians are facing.

"The situation of the Assyrians is terrible in Iraq, many in Södertälje have told me that their people in Iraq are in need of safety and control in their areas. I brought up this issue with several politicians and civil servants in the U.S," he said.

Lago says he was met with understanding for the need to offer the Assyrians local self rule. Kurt Volker, the newly appointed U.S ambassador to NATO, and Senator Edward M. Kennedy were among the influential people who told Lago they realize the need to help the Assyrians by establishing an Assyrian administered area with its own police force in the Nineveh Plains, situated in the north of Iraq.

"I hope I have planted a seed in the American debate about the Assyrian administered area," said Mr. Anders Lago and declared that he will remain committed to push for the protection of Assyrians.

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