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Civil war in Syria

Only a political solution will bring peace

In view of the situation in Syria, a new political process must be initiated. A long-term peaceful solution is only conceivable without Bashar al-Assad, said federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert in Berlin.

"First there must be peace in Syria," and then progress can be made with a political process stressed Steffen Seibert on Monday at the government press conference. The political process must aim to achieve a transition from Assad to another government, he declared. Currently, we are only at the very start of this, at best.

In spite of his brutal and ruthless treatment of his own people, Assad is still President and still controls large parts of Syria, thanks to the backing of Russia and Iran. We have to deal with this reality, said Steffen Seibert and underscored that "Syria and the Syrian people need an end to all violence at last."

Another contravention of the Chemical Weapons Convention

The first step "must be nationwide compliance with the Security Council Resolution 2401 regarding the cessation of hostilities". The German government wants to contribute to a political process, said Steffen Seibert, along with its partners and "stands shoulder by shoulder with France".

He stressed that all information available not only points to the use of chemical weapons in the attack on Douma at the start of April, but also to "the Syrian regime once again being responsible for this".

The repeated use of chemical weapons is "a very elementary violation of international law which cannot be accepted in any way," said Steffen Seibert. It is in the interests of all states to ensure that respect for the Chemical Weapons Convention is not eroded and to prevent the emergence of a culture in which contraventions go unpunished.

Back at the start of April 2017, a toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun cost 100 lives; more than 200 more were injured. A joint UN-OPCW investigative team mandated by the United Nations Security Council confirmed that sarin had been used in this attack, and named the forces of the Syrian regime as being responsible for this crime.

EU foreign ministers consider next steps

In the meantime the EU foreign affairs ministers have closed ranks to express their support for the western airstrikes on Syria. At a meeting in Luxembourg they called for a ceasefire and new negotiations over an end to the war.

In this Germany would like in particular to strengthen the role of the United Nations. Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, explained that a complete ceasefire, across-the-board access to all regions for humanitarian aid and the formation of a transitional government are the most important steps towards peace. "All sections of Syria’s population must be able to identify with a solution."

G7 call for diplomatic solutions

In a statement released on Monday evening, the G7 leaders condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the use of chemical weapons in the attack on Eastern Ghouta. The military response of the USA, France and the United Kingdom was limited, proportionate and necessary, they write. It was undertaken only "only after exhausting every possible diplomatic option to uphold the international norm against the use of chemical weapons".

At the same time, the G7 remain committed to a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Syria. The aim must be to achieve a "credible political transition" at the negotiations in Geneva under the aegis of the UN.

Military action necessary and appropriate

At the weekend the USA, the United Kingdom and France flew airstrikes against military facilities of the Syrian regime. Chancellor Angela Merkel described the military action as "necessary and appropriate". As permanent members of the UN Security Council the three countries accepted their responsibility "to ensure that the international ban on chemical weapons remains effective and to warn the regime against any further contraventions".

Earlier, Angela Merkel announced that Germany "would not be involved in any military action".

Apr 16, 2018