Gauck tells Obama solution to refugee crisis must include US


German President Joachim Gauck told US President Barack Obama in talks at the White House Wednesday of the importance of US engagement in addressing the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees seeking shelter in Europe.

Gauck called for a solution to come “not only from Europe” but also to be something recognized in the United States.

“Germany because of its history is ready to welcome these people in dire need,” he said, calling for a solution to be found to help those fleeing in fear for their lives from the conflict, but also for a solution to the root cause of the Syrian conflict.

“We are much aware of the fact that this is a major humanitarian challenge that we have to address,” he said. “And my hope would be, my wish would be that a realization that awareness does not only exist in Europe, but it’s also something that is recognized in the United States of America.”

Gauck said he believes Obama has a clear picture of what Germany is doing to address the refugee crisis and called Germany an example for Europe. ​The discussion included the dangers of political instability within Germany posed by the refugee crisis as well as US efforts on Syrian refugees.

Obama praised Germany’s role as “one of our strongest allies” and for its role on international issues, including the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria and the Iranian nuclear deal.

Gauck’s visit marked the 25th anniversary of German reunification. Obama said the anniversary was “a great reminder that not only was reunification important for Germany, but it was important for Europe, it was important for the trans-Atlantic relationship, and it was important for the world.”

Before leaving Washington, Gauck was to participate in a ceremony at the State Department to mark the arrival of a piece of the Berlin Wall that had been signed by former president George HW Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev along with Chancellor Angela Merkel and former chancellor Helmut Kohl among others.

Gauck was the first German president to visit the White House in 18 years. He last met with Obama at Bellevue Palace in Berlin in 2013.