Sweden and Afghanistan begin negotiations on readmission agreement

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven met today with President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan.

Mr Löfven and Mr Ghani spoke about the difficult security situation in Afghanistan. They also spoke about the challenge – to both countries – presented by the increased number of Afghan asylum-seekers coming to Sweden. The number of unaccompanied minors was highlighted. Mr Löfven and Mr Ghani agreed that there was a need to strengthen cooperation on the refugee situation. Negotiations will therefore be initiated on an agreement to ensure the efficient readmission of those whose asylum applications have been rejected.

"Many of the refugees who come to Sweden are from Afghanistan, and many of these are unaccompanied minors. This year, some 20 000 minors, primarily young men, have come to Sweden from Afghanistan. This is a serious challenge for both our countries. Today, we have agreed to begin negotiations on a readmission agreement. An agreement of this kind will facilitate the return of those who are not granted asylum in Sweden," says Mr Löfven.

In close dialogue with Afghanistan, Sweden will also continue to try to improve the social and economic conditions in the country through development cooperation. This will allow us to create conditions so that people do not feel compelled to flee.

Sweden has extensive development cooperation with Afghanistan and also contributes to NATO's training mission to train and advise the Afghan forces. Mr Ghani expressed appreciation for the extensive and long-standing Swedish contributions. A development cooperation agreement between Sweden and Afghanistan was also signed in connection with the meeting. The agreement covers regular consultations on matters such as respect for human rights, with particular regard for the situation of women and children.