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Cameron: More Syrian refugees, more aid

September 4, 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed that the UK will accept thousands more Syrians and provide extra financial aid to address the refugee crisis. Spain's prime minister has called for a Europe-wide approach.

Madrid David Cameron bei Rajoy
Image: Reuters/A. Comas

Britain will take "thousands more Syrian refugees" and allocate an additional 100 million pounds (about 136.6 million euros, $152 million) on humanitarian aid to address the Syrian refugee crisis, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday in Madrid at a joint press conference with his Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy.

"Sixty million pounds of this additional funding will go to help Syrians still in Syria. The rest will go to neighboring countries, to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, where Syrian refugees now account for one quarter of the population," Cameron said.

In providing resettlement for Syrian refugees, Britain will continue to take them directly from Syrian refugee camps, the British prime minister said.

"This provides them with a more direct and safe route to the United Kingdom, rather than risking the hazardous journey which has tragically cost so many lives," he told reporters, adding that the British government would announce further details next week.

UK against distribution quota system

At the press conference, he reiterated Britain's stance on mandatory distribution quotas for refugees in the EU: Since the UK is not part of the Schengen zone, it would not participate in any quota distribution system.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the refugee crisis was "the most important challenge facing the EU." At the joint press conference with Cameron, he called for a "European-wide approach."

"Spain will not refuse the right to asylum to those entitled to it," he said. However, he would not commit Spain to taking more than the 2,739 refugees it has pledged to accept. His position was criticized by opposition politicians.

das/se (AP, Reuters, EFE, dpa)