Foreign Minister Maas on the situation in the Middle East

05.01.2020 - Press release

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement in Berlin today:

In view of the dangerous escalation in the conflict between the United States and Iran, Europe in particular now has an important role to play. As Europeans, we have sound and proven channels of communication to all sides and must make full use of them in this situation. I have therefore suggested to Josep Borrell that the Foreign Affairs Council meeting be moved forward to this week so that we can agree quickly on a joint approach.

Our paramount interest is that Iraq’s stability and unity do not fall prey to the latest escalation. Following the resolution by the Iraqi parliament, we will speak immediately with the Iraqi Government in order to clarify how it wants to shape future relations. We will respect all decisions.

By providing military support, but also unprecedented civil stabilisation aid, we and our coalition partners helped Iraq to successfully conduct the fight against IS. This fight is not yet over. IS remains a serious threat. We are willing to continue providing support if so wished and if circumstances permit. In order to discuss this with our international partners, a meeting of the Global Coalition against Daesh should be held as soon as possible.

In the coming days and weeks, we will need to keep a very close eye on what consequences arise from Iraq’s decisions and to what extent the practical and legal prerequisites for our engagement in the country can still be met. Our main priority remains our soldiers’ safety.

We are now discussing this intensively with our partners in NATO, the European Union, the Global Coalition against Daesh, and above all, with our interlocutors in Iraq.


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