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Photograph: EPA/JESSICA GOW

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said Friday the selection of Sweden as one of the co-hosts of a summit on refugees recognizes his country's belief that the responsibility for refugees is global.

Lofven issued a statement and spoke on Swedish Radio after the White House announced September 20 as the date for a planned leader’s summit on refugees on the margins of the UN General Assembly.

The other co-hosts for the summit are Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Jordan, Mexico and the UN Secretary General.

"The co-hosts for the summit all recognize that the international community must do more to protect and assist refugees," the White House said in a statement, which estimated the total number of refugees around the world at 20 million.

Lofven said he was glad to have strong allies in the struggle to ensure that more countries contribute to help people who have been forced to flee.

"The responsibility to offer protection and assistance can't just rest with a few countries," Lofven said.

Lofven told Swedish Radio the matter of co-hosting the summit was raised during a summit between Obama and Nordic leaders in May.

"It is heartening that the US takes a leadership role. It matters that the US, with its leadership, shows that all nations have a global responsibility," the prime minister said.

The White House said humanitarian appeals are at record levels, but remain underfunded. It also said the summit would seek a 30 per cent increase in financing for global appeals for refugees and increases in the number of refugees in school and the number of refugees granted the right to work.

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