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Maas in Brussels: Spotlight on Syria, Yemen and Venezuela

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Brussels

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Brussels, © Le Pictorium Agency via ZUMA

18.02.2019 - Article

At the Foreign Affairs Council, the EU pushes for a political process in the conflict regions.

There can be no peace without a political process. That was Heiko Maas’ central message at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. Turning to Syria, the Foreign Minister emphasised:

With the new UN Special Envoy Pedersen we now have the opportunity to agree finally on a list of participants for the constitutional committee. This needs to be used to launch a political process so that a political solution can finally be found for this war which has lasted far too long and claimed far too many lives.

For the Minister, the aim is a sustainable political solution.

Yemen: Germany ready to participate in UN mission

Foreign Minister Maas described Yemen as the conflict where a political solution is currently most within reach. As Maas underscored, Germany is ready to participate in a UN observer mission in Hudaydah. In the case of this conflict, progress is being made: During peace talks in Stockholm, a local ceasefire was, for example, agreed. A few weeks ago, the Federal Foreign Office organised a stabilisation conference in Berlin to mobilise additional assistance. The EU Foreign Ministers discussed the situation in Yemen today in Brussels and confirmed their full support for a political process under the auspices of the UN and for the work of UN Special Envoy Griffiths.

Venezuela: Intensifying support

The situation in Venezuela is also a matter of urgency. Maas emphasised that Venezuela needs humanitarian assistance and that this will only be possible with Juan Guaidó. The Contact Group comprising states from the EU and Latin America is working to ensure access and to kickstart a political process leading to rapid elections. “We cannot allow Maduro’s cynical efforts to play for time to pay off.” That is why it is important to keep up the pressure on Maduro’s regime. Germany also wants to step up contact to the Lima Group to work with as many partner countries as possible to bring about a political solution.

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