On 7 April, before setting off for the G7 meeting in Asia, Foreign Minister Steinmeier rang the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to discuss efforts towards peace in Syria. Afterwards he issued the following statement:
The ceasefire in Syria has now held for six weeks. It is not perfect. There have been some severe setbacks. But it is a first success for diplomacy, and it has meant an urgently needed respite for many people in Syria.
The priority now must be to make further progress on the political process at last. That’s why it is so important that the negotiations on Syria resume in Geneva next week.
The people of Syria expect both delegations to look seriously for viable compromises to give Syria a peaceful future, including on two difficult but unavoidable issues: the formation of a transitional government and comprehensive reform of Syria’s constitution.
At the same time, it is important that the people in Syria see tangible improvements in their living conditions. At the moment things are still very bad. There was some progress in the humanitarian sphere after the meeting in Munich. But since then the process has stalled: 7 out of 18 besieged areas still haven’t received any aid supplies. Very clearly, it is the regime’s responsibility to end the siege and ensure access for humanitarian assistance. I also talked with the Special Envoy about possible ways to improve the situation of the many thousands of prisoners in Syria. Tackling this problem would be one way for the regime to demonstrate that it is seriously interested in a political solution to the conflict.