In the margins of the Brussels conference on Syria, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel today (5 April) issued the following statement:
The gas attack in Syria is a barbaric war crime. The members of the Assad regime who are responsible for this barbaric act must be held accountable. There must be no camaraderie with the Assad regime – also not in the fight against the terrorists of the so‑called Islamic State.
Russia is an ally of the Assad regime and, as such, bears special responsibility. I call on the Russian government to use its role in the UN Security Council to take concerted action with all other civilised nations in the wake of this gas attack. We support the demand that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) hold a special meeting to address this case.
Yesterday’s attack is also a warning signal for Europe and the United States. The joint effort to combat the terrorism of ISIS must not cause us to lose sight of the horrible civil war in Syria. We Europeans want to talk about this with our American partners, too. The fight against ISIS is important. But it must not distract us in our efforts to take action against the crimes that are being committed in the civil war in Syria, including torture and poison gas attacks. The political process towards obtaining a new constitution, free elections and an end to the Assad regime through democratic means is a prerequisite for bringing permanent peace to the region.
Moreover, Germany will do everything in its power to help those who are being threatened and displaced in Syria. Our efforts focus on aiding families and children in Syria, as well as in the neighbouring countries Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Germany made available 1.3 billion euros last year for this purpose, and we will be providing an equal amount of aid this year.