Speaking to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) on Friday (19 February), Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on the latest developments in Syria:
Wednesday’s aid deliveries to five of the seven besieged cities we agreed on in Munich mark a first small step. They brought 120,000 people their first food and medicines in many weeks. And that’s good, even though it is far from enough.
We have pledged also to support the UN with the airlift planned sometime in the next few days for the city of Deir ez‑Zor, which is besieged by ISIS.
This shows that the joint pressure exerted on the parties to the conflict by the actors who gathered in Munich can have an impact in Syria, if everyone pulls in the same direction.
At today’s meeting of the Task Force in Geneva, we need at last to make concrete progress towards ending the fighting. It is good that for the first time there is direct coordination, including on military issues, between the US and Russia.
I hope that this will enable us at least to agree as a first step on measures to protect the civilian population, so that the bombing of hospitals, schools and refugee camps stops, and the violence can be significantly reduced in all areas not controlled by ISIS and al‑Nusra, even if this is unlikely to happen as fast as we would want.
Then the way would be clear for the continuation of the peace talks between the Syrian regime and the opposition which started in Geneva.