Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement on 1 February 2016 on Foreign Minister Steinmeier’s scheduled visit to Iran and Saudi Arabia:
I very much welcome this visit. In the current situation in particular, we need to speak with both sides in order to prevent a further escalation. The entire region is afflicted by a humanitarian disaster. Iran and Saudi Arabia play a key role in Syria in particular. This is another reason why the channels of communication must be kept open. I know that Foreign Minister Steinmeier will also address the difficult human rights situation in both countries.
Cancelling the visit would have endorsed the conservative forces. Especially now, it is important to show the moderate groups that we will not leave them on their own.