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Merkel decries U.S. pullout from Iran deal

The Associated Press

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, flanked by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, right, holds the St. Francis Lamp peace prize during a ceremony in Assisi, Italy, on Saturday.

The Associated Press ASSISI, Italy (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel lamented Saturday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull his country out of the Iran nuclear accord was making the situation in the Middle East “even more difficult” and warned Europeans to be skeptical of “easy” solutions promised by populists.

Speaking while in Italy to receive a peace prize, Merkel cited the recent escalation of Israeli-Iranian hostility that quickly followed Trump’s announcement about the Iran accord as a reason for concern.

She said Germany was closely following the developments between Iran and Israel, saying that was “yet another reason for further effort to resolve the conflict.”

The German leader made her remarks at St. Francis’ Basilica, in Assisi, the saint’s hometown, where Franciscan friars awarded her the St. Francis Lamp for peace. Merkel was honored for the welcome Germany gave to Syrian war refugees, a decision that carried political risks for the chancellor and her party.

Addressing conflicts on her own continent, Merkel decried what she called “nightly violations” in Ukraine of cease-fire agreements reached in 2014 and 2015 to end the conflict between pro-Kiev forces and pro-Russia fighters in the country’s battered east.

Delivering a sweeping speech about challenges to a more peaceful world, the chancellor also cautioned against Europeans seeking easy solutions to their problems from populist politicians, whose clout has been on the rise across much of the continent.

“The harder the problem is, and the easier the solution is claimed to be, the more suspicious and critical everyone ... should be,” Merkel said.Speech

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