SID, Serbia (AP) — U.S. Sen. John McCain on Friday called for additional assistance to countries along the Balkan migrant corridor and expressed hope for an end to wars in Syria and Afghanistan fueling the refugee crisis.
McCain, a Republican from Arizona, traveled with a Congressional delegation to a Serbian border town where thousands of refugees pass daily on their way toward Western Europe.
"We are here to see the transportation of the refugees through the border crossing to other countries," McCain said at the railway station in Sid as hundreds of migrants boarded a train to take them to neighboring Croatia.
McCain praised the Serbian government for doing "an excellent job in difficult circumstances." He said more U.S. help is necessary, describing the refugee crisis as "very expensive."
"We will be returning and asking our colleagues to vote for additional assistance which is obviously needed," McCain said.
More than 1 million refugees came to Europe last year in the biggest movement to the continent since World War II. Refugees travel through Serbia and other Balkan countries before reaching wealthy European nations such as Germany or Sweden.
Rami Ildere, 29, from Syria, said he wanted to go to Germany or any "secure country." He said he could not stay in Syria because of the war and constant bombing.
"All my family is going," Ildere said.
McCain urged a "settlement in Syria so that the bombing there and in Afghanistan will stop, so that people will remain in their homes and do not have to leave."
"We also will do everything we can to bring about peace in the Middle East to stop the wanton killing causing this enormous humanitarian problem that is spreading all through Europe and eventually to the United States," he said.