GERMANY (OBSERVATORY) – German Foreign Minister Heiko Mas on Saturday urged Russia to help resolve the Syrian crisis when he leaves for a meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations in Toronto.
The Syrian conflict has seriously damaged relations already strained between the West and Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The United States, France and Britain launched missile attacks against Syria’s targets this month after an alleged chemical attack denied by Assad and Moscow that they had carried out.
“We need constructive contributions from Russia to find a peaceful solution,” Mas told reporters before leaving, adding that the same applies to the Ukrainian conflict, which is due to be discussed by G7 foreign ministers.
Russia is not a member of the Group of Seven nations and will not participate in the meeting.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has strongly criticized Russia’s involvement in the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts and supports the European Union’s continued sanctions against Moscow. But Mas belongs to the Social Democratic Party, the small partner of Merkel’s coalition, which is usually aimed at having good relations with Russia.
Germany did not take part in the air strikes on Syria but Merkel supported it and said it was “necessary and appropriate” to warn Syria against using chemical weapons again.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Lien told Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the German armed forces were capable of taking part in the strikes, but “this time we were not asked.”
Since World War II, Germany has resisted taking part in military missions abroad. Its limited overseas activities focused mainly on medical training, observation, rescue and peacekeeping.
– Syrian peace talks –
Von der Lien said the air strikes on Syria had rekindled peace initiatives and added that it was important that the Syrian peace talks in Geneva begin with all participants again.
She added that it was necessary to negotiate with the Assad government to achieve initial steps such as a ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Syrians.
Called von der Lien to take a firm stance of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It was important to insist that Russia keep its commitments in the Minsk peace agreement before easing the sanctions imposed on Moscow because of the conflict in Ukraine.
But she also stressed the importance of preparing to talk to Russia.
Mas is due to take part this week in an international conference on Syria in Brussels. He said the meeting will focus mainly on humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.
“I will reaffirm our support for the UN-sponsored peace process. We urgently need a political solution to this conflict that has been going on for a very long time. ”
Mas will travel to New York on Monday, where he will call for Germany to take a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.