Friday, September 11, 2015

Germany urges G7, Arab nations talk on refugees

BERLIN: Germany on Wednesday said it would call for a meeting of G7 and Arab countries this month to discuss the Syrian refugee crisis and extra funds for the UN refugee agency.

“It is a scandal that the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) is so underfunded that food rations are being halved in refugee camps” in the Middle East, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

Speaking in parliament, Steinmeier said he would propose a meeting with his counterparts from G7 and Arab nations on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, set to open on September 15.

“During the General Assembly week in New York, I will issue an invitation for a short session of the G7 and the Arab nations and say that if we really care about the fate of these people then we must ensure that the UNHCR gets the funds needed to give them daily food rations,” Steinmeier said.

A government official told AFP only that “planning is ongoing” for such talks, without giving further details.

Germany has taken in a record wave of refugees, many fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq, with arrivals expected to reach 800,000 this year in the EU’s biggest economy, four times last year’s total.

Germany in June hosted a summit of Group of Seven (G7) large industrialised democracies, which also include Britain, Canada, France, Italy, the United States, and Japan, which took over the group’s presidency from Germany.