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Denmark in talks with Rwanda over processing of asylum seekers

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By Euronews  with EFE
Denmark's Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye attends a meeting at the European Parliament in January.
Denmark's Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye attends a meeting at the European Parliament in January.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Olivier Matthys

Denmark says it is in talks with Rwanda about setting up a reception centre for asylum seekers after a similar scheme was unveiled by the United Kingdom.

Under a controversial law passed last year, Denmark allows refugees arriving in the country to be moved to asylum centres in a partner nation.

Danish integration minister Mattias Tesfaye travelled to Rwanda last year, where he signed a framework agreement to strengthen cooperation on immigration issues.

"Denmark has good cooperation with Rwanda, based on a broad partnership," he said in an emailed statement.

"We have been in close dialogue to further strengthen our partnership," Tesfaye added.

The minister has stressed that no further agreements on asylum centres have been reached but "confidential" talks between the two governments are ongoing.

Britain has also planned to send some asylum seekers for processing in Rwanda as part of a tough new immigration plan, still to be approved by parliament.

Human rights groups and opposition politicians have condemned the proposals by London and Copenhagen as "unethical".

But Denmark's government says the plan is a "more dignified approach" to migration flows than "the criminal network of people smugglers".

Tesfaye has also said that the current European asylum system is "unsustainable" and that the agreement between London and Kigali as "a good step forward".

"I hope that more European countries in the near future will support the vision of tackling irregular migration through agreements with countries outside Europe," he said in the statement.

A parliamentary meeting on immigration in Denmark is set to take place next week.