On Friday, September 14th, at a press conference following talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Berlin, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on Russia to stop Bashar Assad from conducting a large-scale military operation in the Syrian province of Idlib.
“The situation in Idlib is so sensitive that we want to do everything possible to prevent a large-scale attack, to avoid thousands of casualties among the civilian population,” said the German foreign minister. He also expressed hope that Moscow will use its influence on the Syrian leader, so that under no circumstance chemical weapons are used.
Maas reaffirmed that Germany will assist Syria in the process of rebuilding Syria only after Damascus fulfills several conditions. In particular, there should be an opportunity for refugees to return with a guarantee that they will not be subjected to political persecution. The country should begin a political process, that guarantees Syrians have the right to decide on their own, the future of the country. “I cannot imagine that at the end of this process, if it is truly a democratic process, Assad will remain [in power] long-term,” said Maas.
Answering journalists’ questions about Berlin’s position on “Skripal’s case,” Maas stated that Germany has no reason to doubt the outcome of London’s investigation.