Germany, France Cool Expectations For Syrian Peace Talks In Geneva

Bonn, GERMANY (Alliance News) - German and French foreign ministers on ...

Alliance News 17 February, 2017 | 9:12PM
Email Form

Bonn, GERMANY (Alliance News) - German and French foreign ministers on Friday played down expectations of a breakthrough at peace talks in Geneva next week aimed at ending the bloody Syrian war.

"The path before us will be difficult," said German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel standing alongside his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault.

The two ministers were speaking following talks with other members of the so-called Friends of Syria group in Bonn on the sidelines of a meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) foreign ministers.

"We should not underestimate the difficulties and dangers" said Ayrault. "This is not a done deal."

Gabriel and Ayrault also called on Russia to play a "constructive role" in efforts to end the six-year civil war.

"Russia and Iran must call on Syria to stop seeing all members of the [Syrian] opposition as terrorists," so as to allow opposition representatives to play an increased role in the United Nations-sponsored peace talks on the war-torn nation in Geneva, the French minister said.

Representatives of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and opposition forces failed to reach a breakthrough in talks this week in the Kazakhstan capital of Astana.

Initiated by France, Friends of Syria is an international group set up to find a solution to the Syrian conflict after Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution calling on Damascus to join peace efforts.

In addition to Germany and France, Friday's talks in Bonn on Syria also included envoys from Italy, the US, Britain, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey, the EU and Saudi Arabia.

Ayrault said that the election of a new US administration had provided the opportunity to review the prospects of finding a way to end the conflict in Syria, in which the UN said last year had cost the lives of about 400,000.

The German and French ministers also praised the new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's involvement in Friday's meeting on Syria with Gabriel telling reporters that the US's chief diplomat had been "participated vigorously" in the talks.

At their meeting in Bonn, the Friends of Syria group signalled they also planned to step up their drive to end the conflict by gathering as often as possible.

Egypt is also part of the Friends of Syria group, which began holding talks on Syria shortly after the start of the nation's civil war in 2011, and which emerged from the Arab spring protests across the Middle East.

In addition to acting as a platform for the new Trump White House to set out and clarify its worldview, Russia's role in international affairs has been a key issue at the G20 meeting in the former German capital.

During their two-days of deliberations, the G20 ministers have acknowledged that solutions to several of the world's most difficult problems cannot be found without Moscow's involvement.

This included the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which was another key theme at the G20 meeting.

By Andrew McCathie, dpa

Copyright dpa

Email Form
About Author Alliance News

Alliance News provides Morningstar with continuously updating coverage of news affecting listed companies.