Why is France joining the war in Syria

Searching for a solution in the war in Syria : Federal government supports peace initiative for Syria

The German government has pledged its full support for a new peace initiative for Syria. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) said on Monday on the sidelines of a meeting with EU colleagues in Luxembourg that the plan was to use all available options in the process that is now pending.

It is important, however, that Syria's protecting power Russia also make a constructive contribution. "You will not be able to resolve this conflict without Russia," said Maas.

What a new peace initiative might look like was initially unclear. France wanted to present proposals at the meeting of foreign ministers and later at the United Nations in New York.

Maas advocates a settlement of the Syrian conflict without President Bashar al-Assad. "Nobody can imagine that someone who uses chemical weapons against his population can be part of the solution." He was "very in agreement" with his French colleague that the political process had to be revived.

French President Emmanuel Macron had previously announced new efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. France will "speak to everyone" - especially with Russia and Iran, the supporters of the Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad, Macron said on French television on Sunday evening.

According to diplomats, the goal is the adoption of a comprehensive resolution in the United Nations Security Council. Among other things, it should enable a nationwide ceasefire and secure access for humanitarian aid workers in Syria. On this basis, a long-term political solution to the conflict could then be worked out.

EU states are looking for a connection to Russia

The EU states do not want to fuel the dispute with Russia for the time being with new sanctions. According to diplomats, the EU foreign ministers probably did not want to join the new punitive measures announced by the US at their meeting in Luxembourg. The ministers may, however, keep the option open to impose sanctions on Syrians. Concrete decisions, especially against Russia, were not expected.

The United States' UN ambassador announced on Sunday new US sanctions against Russia because of Moscow's role in Syria. It will be about penalties against companies that have to do with equipment related to chemical weapons in Syria, said Nikki Haley.

However, the EU is already looking to the time after the war in Syria and would participate in the reconstruction. "Today we are also preparing the Syria donors conference next week in Brussels," said EU foreign affairs representative Federica Mogherini. 70 delegations were to take part in it. At the same time, she appealed to Russia and Iran to use their influence on Syria in order to start serious talks under the aegis of the UN in Geneva.

CDU politicians support the Maas initiative

Leading CDU politicians are behind new Franco-German mediation attempts in the war in Syria. "I am also of the opinion that we should never let the threads of the conversation break," said CDU Vice Julia Klöckner on Monday in Berlin with a view to Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "But we should also make our positions clear and unambiguous towards Russia, and I also support the position of the Federal Foreign Minister," she added before her party's presidium meeting.

Meanwhile, EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger spoke out in favor of an early meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The Chancellor has great authority. Completely clear: When she is at the discussion table, she certainly has weight, arguments and is a leading representative of the European Union, ”Oettinger said on Monday before meetings of the CDU's governing bodies in Berlin when asked what role Merkel played in Germany and Germany France intended diplomatic offensive to end the civil war.
Together with the USA and Great Britain, France attacked targets in Syria on Saturday night. The countries responded by their own account to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war, for which they blame President Bashar al-Assad.

It is still unclear what role Assad can play in efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. Maas said on Monday that a solution would have to involve all those who have influence in the region. At the same time he emphasized: "Nobody can imagine that someone who uses chemical weapons against his population can be part of this solution." (dpa / AFP / Reuters)

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