Tsipras meets Merkel in Istanbul as Erdogan calls for more help with refugee crisis

Tsipras meets Merkel in Istanbul as Erdogan calls for more help with refugee crisis

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held brief talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the sidelines of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on Monday.

The two are said to have discussed the refugee crisis. Earlier, Tsipras set out his view of the challenges faced by Greece in dealing with the refugee crisis and the security problems in the wider regions.

“We firmly believe that to meet these challenges, a new vision is required as far as humanitarian aid is concerned,” he said at the summit.

“We will not be able to build this new vision without also creating a new vision for humanity as a whole,” he added.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on governments, businesses and aid groups to commit to halving the number of displaced civilians by 2030. "We are here to shape a different future," he said in an address at the start of the conference.

"I urge you to … find better long-term solutions for refugees and displaced people based on (a) more equal sharing of responsibilities."

However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who Tsipras is due to meet on Monday afternoon, used the opportunity to criticize the UN and major international powers and accused them of not doing enough to help the Syrians.

He criticized the UN Security Council, saying it should have more than five permanent members – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.

"It is illogical, unconscionable and unfair to confine all peoples' fate to the political interest of five countries," he said.

Turkey expects a fairer sharing of the burden of dealing with refugees, said Erdogan, reiterating that his country is hosting the highest number of refugees in the world.

"We have not been able to receive the necessary support and contribution from the international community on the refugee crisis, and we now expect a fairer sharing of the burden," he told the UN summit, attended by global government and business leaders, aid agencies and donors.

[Kathimerini & Reuters]

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