Miliband urges U.S. to play bigger role in refugee crisis

Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband says the U.S. should play a leadership role in helping deal with the refugee crisis engulfing Europe and the Middle East.

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 06, 2015) (NBC) – Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Sunday (September 6) urged the United States to play a leadership role in the growing refugee crisis gripping Europe and the Middle East.

“The reasons people are fleeing the Middle East is the neighboring countries of Syria, that are close allies of the U.S. like Jordan, are creaking under the strain of literally millions of refugees,” Miliband, who is currenlty President and Ceo of the International Rescue Committee, said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Miliband also said that 65,000 refugees would be the “logical” number for the U.S. to accommodate, especially if it wants to maintain its leadership position in refugee resettlement.

“At the moment, that leadership position has been taken by Germany because they have clearly said that 800,000 people are going to register for asylum or claim refugees status this year. It is time for the U.S., I think, to have the kind of debate about how it can continue its leadership,” said Miliband.

Over the course of the last four years, the U.S. has taken only 1,400 Syrian refugees, he added.

Meanwhile, thousands of refugees and migrants continued to streamed into Germany on Sunday, many traveling through Austria from Hungary where they had been stranded against their will for days.

A record 50,000 people hit Greek shores in July alone, and more than 2,000 have died at sea so far this year.

The European Union countries remain deeply divided over how to cope with the massive influx of people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, making the 28-nation bloc look ineffective and heartless as member states blame each other, fueling political populism and anti-Muslim sentiment.

Austria and Germany have thrown open their borders to the wave of refugees making their way north and west from the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. Hungary has been letting the human tide move on after holding it up for days.

The numbers in Europe are small compared to several million refugees in Syria’s neighbors Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan and Pope Francis called on Sunday for every European parish and religious community to take in one migrant family each.

The conflict that many of the refugees left behind shows no signs of stopping either.

British Prime Minister David Cameron wants to hold a vote in parliament in early October to allow air strikes on Islamic State in Syria, London’s Sunday Times said, and Le Monde reported that France was also considering air strikes, joining a U.S.-led coalition.

The Australian government is due to make a decision within a week on whether to join the coalition.