Thursday 30 March 2017

George Clooney meets Angela Merkel to discuss refugee crisis

George Clooney and his wife Amal are accompanied by Angela Merkel's foreign policy adviser Christoph Heusgen, centre (AP)
George Clooney and his wife Amal are accompanied by Angela Merkel's foreign policy adviser Christoph Heusgen, centre (AP)

Hollywood star George Clooney and his lawyer wife Amal have had a private meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the crisis in Syria and Europe's efforts to help refugees.

The actor, who is in Germany for the Berlin Film Festival to showcase his new movie Hail, Caesar, was accompanied at the 40-minute meeting by David Miliband, the former British foreign secretary who heads the International Rescue Committee.

Mr Miliband said afterwards that they discussed what countries around the world could do to solve "what is a global problem, not just a Syrian problem or a German issue".

He praised Ms Merkel for "showing very strong leadership and example not just to Europe but globally" in the refugee crisis.

The Clooneys plan to visit a Berlin refugee shelter later.

Mr Miliband said it was Clooney's idea to ask for a meeting with Ms Merkel, who has received both praise and criticism for letting hundreds of thousands of refugees into Germany over the past year.

Clooney is known for his human rights work and has supported the IRC on other projects.

Mr Miliband said: "It wouldn't be right to come to Berlin and have a film festival and pretend there wasn't a big global issue for which Germany was in the eye of the storm."

Ms Merkel told reporters that she had had "a very good conversation" with the Clooneys and Mr Miliband, exchanging ideas for how aid groups and governments can co-operate to encourage citizens to volunteer to help refugees.

Press Association

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