Christians in the Middle East are "the most persecuted group in the world" and should be given priority in the refugee resettlement process, government Senate leader Eric Abetz has argued.

With the Coalition under pressure to take more refugees from Syria and Tony Abbott offering a haven for persecuted minorities, Abetz told reporters on Tuesday that Syrian Christians should be given preference.

"I think the Australian people would see a need for that to be a focus," he said, adding that resettlement should be decided "on the basis of need".

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