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UN chief says EU must do more to address migrant crisis

25 september 2015, 14:58

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday welcomed the European Union's decision to inject $1 billion to help countries overwhelmed by Syrian refugees, but said more must be done to relocate migrants, AFP reports.

EU leaders agreed at a summit in Brussels to boost assistance for UN aid efforts in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, which has taken in the bulk of Syria's four million refugees from the war.

On the eve of the summit, EU interior ministers agreed to relocate 120,000 refugees from Greece and Italy over the next two years.

Ban described the decisions as "a step in the right direction" but said that "efforts are still required to resolve the crises and conflicts that cause people to flee, including in Syria."

The UN chief "calls on European leaders to do more to ensure dignified and humane reception and claim processing of the thousands of men, women and children seeking protection in Europe," said a statement from his spokesman.

Ban urged the 28-nation bloc to "consider increasing legal and safe pathways into Europe" for migrants and refugees "so that they are not left in the hands of criminal networks and embark on perilous journeys."

"Europe and countries beyond must make available many more relocation places to provide the many refugees who are in camps or living under temporary arrangements with a viable long term solution, when safe return is not possible," he said.

With millions of Syrians forced into camps across the Middle East and tens of thousands crossing Europe on foot, the United States has promised to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees next year.

That figure is dwarfed by a million asylum seekers that Germany is expecting to welcome by the end of this year.

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