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Refugee defends Merkel's reaction during tearful encounter

Palestinian teen refugee defends Merkel's reaction after German leader's comments prompt tears

Refugee defends Merkel's reaction during tearful encounter

BERLIN (AP) -- 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.

Updated : 2021-09-20 09:49 GMT+08:00