Middle East

Minister Müller in northern Iraq: key to resolving the refugee crisis lies in the region itself

Federal Minister for Development Gerd Müller meets the Prime Minister of the Kurdish Regional Government,  Nechirvan Barzani, in Erbil, northern Iraq

Press release of 27.01.2016 |

Erbil – In preparation for the Syrian donor conference taking place in London on 4 February, Federal Minister Gerd Müller, who is currently visiting the Middle East region, had a meeting with Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister of the Kurdish regional government, and with members of his cabinet. The region, with a population of over five million Kurds, has taken in 1.5 million Iraqis fleeing from the activities of the IS and also 300,000 Syrians.

Commenting on the situation, Minister Müller said: "The key to resolving the refugee crisis lies in the region itself. Germany is already doing everything in its power to help. What we need now is an international concerted effort. We must crank up the economy in the main host countries. We must create hundreds and thousands of jobs, for locals and for refugees. Given the state of the region’s infrastructure, an investment and economic development programme is just what is needed to stabilise the situation. If people have prospects for a viable future where they are, then they will not put themselves in the hands of traffickers and people smugglers in a bid to reach Europe. The Syrian donor conference in London needs to send a strong message in this regard. We must show the refugees by our actions that, whilst they cannot all come to us, we will come to them with a powerful Marshall Plan and will help create for them the prospect of a better future."

In northern Iraq, the BMZ has built winterised shelters for almost 30,000 refugees in ten camps, has improved the water supply for 100,000 people, has set up a hospital and health centres to look after half a million people and has opened seven new schools for 50,000 children. Over the past two years, the BMZ has tripled its overall funding to help deal with the Syrian-Iraq crisis. Before arriving in northern Iraq, Minister Müller had been in Turkey and Jordan.

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