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Merkel 'on right side of history' over pro-refugee stance: Obama

AFP , Sunday 24 Apr 2016
Obama, Merkel
US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the opening ceremony of the Hannover Messe in Hanover, Germany April 24, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

US President Barack Obama on Sunday leapt to the defence of Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying the German leader, facing fire at home over a record refugee influx, is on the "right side of history".

"What's happening with respect to her position on refugees here, in Europe, she's on the right side of history on this," said Obama on his fifth and final official visit to Germany.

Lauding Merkel for taking "very tough politics not just to express a humanitarian concern but also a practical concern", the US leader said: "She is giving a voice to the kinds of principles that bring people together rather than divide them."

Merkel has faced virulent criticism in Germany over her liberal stance after 1.1 million asylum seekers arrived in Europe's top economy last year.

Critics, particularly from within her conservative camp, argue that Germany is ill-equipped to cope with the sheer scale of the arrivals.

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