Washington | The United States regards the exodus of Middle Eastern refugees to Europe as a global challenge, Secretary of State John Kerry has said, reassuring his German counterpart of US support. It is not somebody else’s problem. It is a test for all of us, Kerry declared yesterday, at a Washington news conference with Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The United States considers the refugee crisis to be global. The impact first was felt obviously by Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. They’ve born an unbelievable burden in the course of these four-plus years of war. The European Union is reeling under a flow of hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, and particularly from Syria, which is in the grip of civil war.
Washington boasts of being the biggest single donor to the refugee relief effort, having spent USD 5.1 billion, largely to support refugee camps in Syria’s neighbours Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. But President Barack Obama has only ordered that the United States itself resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year and managed to screen just 942 in the first five months of this period.
Some in Washington regard the crisis as the worst challenge to Europe since the aftermath of World War II and a threat to the survival of the European Union. The administration is under pressure to do more. But Kerry has said the priority is to push for a political settlement in Syria that would end the war and stop the refugee flow at its source.