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Steinmeier seeks EU solution as millions flee Syria

Germany's foreign minister says other EU countries need to take in people displaced by Syria's civil war, too. Frank-Walter Steinmeier also criticized the death sentence given to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

At a news conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Nasser Judeh, in Amman on Saturday, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that Germany had taken in 130,000 Syrians, making it one of the few possible EU destinations for people displaced by the civil war. The two foreign ministers also discussed their countries' shared fight against the "Islamic State."

Close to 4 million Syrians have fled their country since the conflict there began in 2011. Neighboring countries such as Jordan have taken in the majority, many of whom are children.

After visiting a camp for displaced people, Steinmeier suggested that Europe could absorb more. He said that "we need to see if we can't organize a system of sharing the burden" in a European quota system. The Social Democrat added that EU foreign ministers would take up the idea for debate next week. The German army currently has patrols in the Mediterranean Sea to watch out for people smugglers.

At the news conference, Steinmeier also criticized the death sentence handed down by an Egyptian court to former President Mohammed Morsi on Saturday. "For us in Germany, it is a form of punishment that we categorically reject," Steinmeier said. He added that he expected Egyptian authorities to "act according to the law and not according to political standards."

Judeh declined to comment on the death penalty handed down to Morsi. Jordan regularly executes prisoners for crimes including murder, drug trafficking and treason. In February, Jordan executed two people accused of terrorism in retaliation for the killing of a pilot by the Islamic State.

mkg/gsw (AFP, dpa, AP)

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