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Obama praises Merkel for taking in Syrians

August 27, 2015

US President Barack Obama spoke by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the recent refugee crisis and said he appreciates her recent decision to ease the asylum application procedure for Syrians.

obama präsident usa telefon
Image: AP

In a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel late on Wednesday, Barack Obama voiced appreciation for her leadership in dealing with refugees fleeing to Europe, the White House said in a statement.

Germany, which is preparing to receive a record 800,000 asylum applications this year, has eased the asylum application procedure for Syrians fleeing the country's brutal civil war - a decision especially praised by the US president.

The surge in migrants seeking refuge from conflict or poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia has confronted Europe with its highest refugee numbers since World War II.

Merkel and western Balkan leaders will gather in Vienna Thursday to seek a coherent approach to tackling the migration crisis.

A string of recent protests, apparent arson attempts and other incidents around temporary homes for asylum seekers have dominated the headlines in Germany in recent days. Merkel was in Heidenau, an eastern German town where anti-refugee protesters clashed with police at the weekend, earlier on Wednesday in response.

Merkel vowed zero tolerance for "vile" anti-migrant violence in Heidenau, as criticism grows against the European Union for failing to find a coordinated a solution.

She added that the more people who carry this message, "the stronger we will be and the better we will be able to address this task" of caring for refugees.

dr/msh (AFP, Reuters)