President Donald Trump says that Europe needs to pay more in order to the cost of the support for Syrian refugees, Newsweek reported.
Trump’s remark came after an urgent meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan where they spoke about the disagreement on the Syria policy and Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
While some had expected a major confrontation between the two world leaders, Trump came away from the talks declaring himself a “big fan” of Erdogan.
He also complained that “as of this moment” Turkey has been “paying for most” of the costs of supporting Syrian refugees.
“I think that, frankly, Europe should be paying for this to a large extent,” the U.S. leader said. “As of this moment, Turkey’s been paying for most of it. I think the president [Erdogan] was saying today they’ve spent over $40 billion on the cost of that.”
After confirming with Erdogan and reporters that the cost was around $40 billion, Trump said: “Whatever, they’ve spent a lot.”
“Europe has contributed about $3 million,” Trump said. “And a lot of these people would go all throughout Europe and then it would be a devastating situation for Europe.”
While Trump appeared to put pressure on Europe to do more to support displaced Syrians, the U.S. leader’s comments come after the U.S. saw a record-breaking zero admissions for refugees in the month of October.
According to World Relief, October represented the first month in nearly 30 years that the U.S. did not admit a single refugee.
Over the past five fiscal years, the average number for refugees resettled in October has been 4,945, World Relief has said.
Last month’s record-breaking low was due to a pause on admissions, as the U.S. looks to admit the smallest number of refugees into the country in Fiscal Year 2020 since the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program was started.
In a statement released earlier this month World Relief President Scott Arbeiter accused Trump of abdicating responsibility “for a scenario to which we as a nation have contributed.”
“Withdrawing our troops from Syria meant unleashing chaos in the region and forcing even more people to flee their homes,” Arbeiter asserted.
“This isn’t just heartbreaking—it’s unjust,” he said, urging the Trump administration to “reconsider its approach and set a cap that better represents the compassion and hospitality of the American people.”