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Diplomatic initiative for Syria – Maas meets EU Foreign Ministers

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, © Inga Kjer/photothek.net

16.04.2018 - Article

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his European counterparts met on 16 April to discuss the next steps as regards fostering a political settlement for Syria. The aim was to explore ways to prevent escalation and relaunch talks.

On Monday (16 April), Foreign Minister Maas and his EU counterparts met to discuss possible diplomatic solutions to the conflict in Syria. The Foreign Ministers convened at a Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg in order to discuss the most pressing international problems.

Endeavours to bring about a political solution

“The events of the past days have brought home to us all that we must now do everything we can to prevent escalation,” Maas said. It had been necessary and appropriate, he said, that the inhumane use of banned chemical weapons had led to consequences. “However, we now need to do our utmost to bring about a political settlement,” Maas said. To this end, the German Foreign Minister and his EU counterparts discussed possible new formats for talks and negotiations.

Humanitarian aid, ceasefire, transitional government

Germany wants the focus to be on strengthening the role of the United Nations. Maas said that a comprehensive ceasefire, the complete opening of all regions to humanitarian aid, and the formation of a transitional government are the most important steps towards peace. “All sections of the Syrian population need to feel represented by a settlement,” he added.

Russia must provide constructive input

The EU Foreign Ministers also discussed relations with Russia. “Whether or not one likes it, the conflict cannot be resolved without Russia,” Maas said. To this end, however, Russia must finally provide constructive input and not merely protect the Assad regime.

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