Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement today (23 February) as peace talks for Syria are officially scheduled to begin in Geneva:
“After nearly one year, there is now a possibility that talks between the Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition will be taken up again in Geneva, with the aim of finding a solution to the bloody civil war. For the first time in many months, there is the prospect that the vicious circle of violence may be broken and a true political process can be initiated under the leadership of the United Nations.
Neither the Syrian regime nor the opposition should let this opportunity pass, although the talks will certainly not be easy. The civilian population of Syria is suffering and has been waiting all too long for this devastating war to finally come to an end. The attack on the UN humanitarian convoy at al-Waer again demonstrates how important it is for steps to be taken now to rapidly de-escalate the situation.
I call on all sides to seriously and constructively engage in the negotiations on a political transition. Germany will continue to do everything in its power to support the United Nations, and in particular UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, as they tackle this difficult task.”