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Before Middle East visit, Foreign Minister Steinmeier urges that momentum of political developments must be used

11.01.2014

On the eve of his trip to Paris for a meeting of the core Group of Friends of the Syrian People and on to the Middle East, Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement today (11 January):

The complex and interwoven triple crisis consisting of the Syrian civil war, Israeli-Palestinian relations and the Iranian nuclear programme has started seeing some movement. Precisely because political developments have been set in motion in all these conflicts which could point the way towards peaceful solutions and settlements, we have reason, among all the scepticism, to be cautiously confident that something can be achieved. I want to seize this opportunity and explore in direct talks how German and European foreign policy can help make sure this momentum is not lost.

Thanks to the American initiative and the great commitment shown by John Kerry, there is a real chance, for the first time in years, for a peaceful negotiated solution in the Middle East. We fully and actively support this and would like to bring to bear all of Europe’s and Germany’s influence in pursuit of that goal.

With regard to the destruction of chemical weapons we have made progress on a difficult path. Germany is shouldering its share of international responsibility in order to improve conditions for ending the terrible civil war in Syria. There is no political alternative to direct talks between the Syrian Government and the opposition.

That is why it is essential that the Montreux conference can now start with the participation of Syria’s moderate opposition.

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