Rome: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal has increased tensions in the Middle East.

“We are following the events between Iran and Israel, bearing in mind that Israel’s security" is important to Germany, Merkel said on Saturday in comments reported by the Ansa newswire. She spoke after receiving the Lamp of Peace of St. Francis award in Assisi, Italy.

Introduced by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, a former Nobel Peace Price winner and recipient of the Assisi honour last year, Merkel said that Europe needs to remember and strengthen its values if it wants to protect its own peace and security. “If we don’t not know how to give Europe a soul, we will lose this game," she said, quoting former European Commission president Romano Prodi.

Merkel underlined Germany’s “good cooperation" with Italy but declined to share her views on its current struggle to form a government. That country “is going through a demanding political phase on which I will not express myself," she was quoted by Ansa as saying.

Speaking about refugees coming from Africa, a hot-button political issue that has fuelled nationalism in both Italy and Germany, Merkel said, “if we want to create peace, we must not only think about our own well-being. Together with our neighbours, we must search for a solution."

Merkel also expressed her concern about the ongoing conflict in the easternmost parts of Europe.

“Ukraine is worrying us," she said. “We try to enforce the Minsk agreements, but every night there is a violation of the truce, every day human losses. The Ukrainians are not alone."

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