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U.S. To Grant Asylum To Up To 7,000 Iraqis --> An Iraqi refugee camp near Ba'qubah (file photo) (epa) February 15, 2007 -- The United States has announced it will grant asylum to up to 7,000 Iraqis over the next year.

The head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Antonio Guterres, welcomed the decision, calling it "a very good step in the right direction."

Only 202 Iraqis were allowed into the United States last year.

Also, the United States said it will contribute $18 million to the UNHCR to help millions of other Iraqi refugees.

Last week, the UNHCR
said that an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Iraqis are fleeing
their homes monthly, and it issued an emergency appeal
for $60 million in international aid.

Iraq In Transition

THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.