Syria should remind us ‘we are all neighbours’: Germany

United Nations, Oct 2 (IANS) The humanitarian catastrophe in Syria should remind us “we are all neighbours”, a German minister has said.

“Let me stress that when dealing with a humanitarian catastrophe as horrifying as the one in Syria — we are all neighbours,” Xinhua news agency quoted German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier as saying in the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

“That is what we must all remind ourselves of, and crawl out of our diplomatic trenches,” Steinmeier said.

“There will not be a military solution,” he said, “and neither supposed eternal truths nor national interests must be allowed to obstruct an effort to take the first steps towards defusing the conflict.”

Steinmeier said Germany has so far accepted 600,000 refugees since the start of the year, but that with 10,000 new refugees arriving every day, it would not be able to shoulder this alone in the long term.

He added that addressing the refugee crisis also involved providing support to the countries neighbouring Syria who have taken the majority of refugees, adding Germany had met with other countries on Tuesday to raise $1.8 billion for UN relief agencies.

These funds, he said, would help “relieve the burden on the neighbouring countries in which the majority of refugees arrive — especially Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.”

The Syrian crisis, which broke out in March 2011, led to a massive refugee influx into Syria’s neighbouring countries, such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

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