Clooneys, Merkel discuss refugees at Berlin festival

German Chancellor Angela Merkel receives actor George Clooney and his wife Amal (2nd R) in the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on Friday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel receives actor George Clooney and his wife Amal (2nd R) in the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on Friday.


Actor George Clooney and his lawyer wife Amal had a private meeting Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the crisis in Syria and Europe’s efforts to help refugees.

The Clooneys were accompanied by David Miliband, the former British foreign secretary who now heads the aid group International Rescue Committee. They also attended the Berlin Film Festival and met with refugees later Friday.

“We (…) talked about the responsibilities of all states, not just European states but states around the world to deal with what is a global problem, not just a Syrian problem or a German issue,” Miliband told The Associated Press after the 40-minute meeting at Merkel’s office.

“It’s very clear that Mrs. Merkel has been showing very strong leadership and example not just to Europe but globally,” he added. “We wanted to hear from her and support what she’s doing.”

Meanwhile, a love story set against the aftermath of Tunisia’s revolution kicked off the competition at the festival Friday as the first Arab-produced contender in two decades. Hailing from the North African country that triggered the Arab Spring, “Hedi” is the debut feature-length film of Tunisian filmmaker Mohamed Ben Attia.

It is the first Arab production set in the Arab world since 1996 to vie for prizes at Europe’s first major cinema showcase of the year, a festival spokeswoman said.

“It’s not that I’m not ambitious, but I never imagined going to Berlin! All of us are surprised,” Ben Attia told AFP.


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