Kerry says U.S. ready to take more refugees

(N24 POOL) – The United States will take in 15,000 more refugees from around the world next year, increasing the current level to 85,000, and to 100,000 in 2017, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said after talks with his German counterpart on Sunday.

The remarks may show an increasing willingness of the United States to help cope with the mass migration of Syrians although the offer is modest when compared with the hundreds of thousands that are moving alone to Europe and in particular, Germany.

Kerry did not say how many of the additional refugees would be from Syria but pledged that the U.S. was ready to help.

Kerry also announced he will hold talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week on ways to restart negotiations on a political solution to end Syria’s war.

Kerry’s comments on refugees address calls on U.S. President Barack Obama to help more in the crisis. Obama has said the U.S. will accept at least 10,000 Syrians over the coming year displaced by the four-year-old civil war.

His announcement comes ahead of a Sept. 23 emergency summit meeting of European Union leaders to address the stream of refugees that has overwhelmed the region.

Kerry said the United States would like to take in more refugees in the coming year but needed additional funding from Congress to hire more people to process the refugees.