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Kosovo: More Refugees Seek Asylum In Germany

Munich, 8 July 1998 (RFE/RL) -- The conflict in Kosovo has led to a sharp increase in the number of people seeking political asylum in Germany. The federal interior ministry says the numbers are the highest since November 1995.

According to the Interior Ministry, 2,804 people from Yugoslavia sought asylum last month (June). More than 85 per cent of them came from Kosovo. They told the immigration authorities they fled from persecution by the Serbs.

The number who sought asylum last month is 35 per cent more than in May. The spokesman said it was already clear that the numbers for this month will also be high.

The ministry's figure show that 11,300 Yugoslavs -- most of them from Kosovo -- sought political asylum in Germany in the first six months of the year. This is a 72 per cent increase on the same period of last year.

Altogether more than 42,000 people sought asylum in Germany in the first half of the year. Apart from Yugoslavia, the largest number came from Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

Germany accepts more political refugees than any other country in Europe. Recently the Government declared that it would continue to accept all those fleeing genuine persecution but would tighten controls on the borders to stem the flood of illegal economic emigrants seeking a better living standard.