Refugee defends Merkel's reaction during tearful encounter

AP , Friday 17 Jul 2015

The Palestinian teenager who began crying during a televised exchange with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Photo: Reuters)

A 14-year-old Palestinian refugee who burst into tears during a conversation with Angela Merkel is defending the German leader's handling of the incident.

Merkel faced criticism for her matter-of-fact explanation that Germany couldn't take in everyone who wants to come, and that asylum seekers can expect to learn within a year whether they can stay.

Reem Sahwil told ARD television Friday that Merkel "listened to me, and she also told me what she thinks about it, and I think that's OK."

Government spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz says Merkel was "moved, just like anyone would be if they meet someone who had to leave their home."

A video of the encounter Wednesday, which had over 400,000 views on the government's Facebook page, showed Merkel hesitating briefly before patting the crying girl.

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