Germany to give Syria $5.4 million to help cope with Iraqi refugees

Germany will give Syria €4 million (US$5.4 million) to help it cope with an increasing number of Iraqi refugees, Germany's development minister said Tuesday. Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul made the announcement after holding talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad at the start of a three-day visit to Syria. Speaking at a joint press conference with Abdullah Dardari, the Syrian deputy premier for economic affairs, she said that Germany feels the burden Syria is shouldering in hosting more than 1.5 million Iraqis. The German minister said that her visit - the first to Syria - adhered to the principle of "cooperation, not confrontation" as the best way for relations between states. She noted that Berlin supported Syria's bid to sign a partnership agreement with the European Union.