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Steinmeier stresses US election must not hamper Syrian settlement

November 03, 2016, 15:55 UTC+3

Germany’s top diplomat says it is necessary to prevent the appearance of the vacuum in the Syrian peace settlement because of the upcoming change of the US administration

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© AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

BERLIN, November 3. /TASS/. German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has voiced concern over the fact that that the change of the US administration could lead to the emergence of the vacuum in the Syrian settlement.

"It is necessary to prevent the appearance of the vacuum because of the upcoming change of the US administration. That is why we urgently need a new impetus for the talks between Moscow and Washington and between regional partners," he said on Thursday following talks with head of the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Riad Hijab.

Germany’s top diplomat said once again that, in his view, the humanitarian pauses around Aleppo organized by Russia are too short. "Moscow announced a new 10-hour pause for tomorrow. As before, we say that this is far from enough," he noted. "This period of time is too short to evacuate the sick and seriously wounded and deliver humanitarian aid to Aleppo residents."

Steinmeier added that the suspension of flights over Aleppo alleviates the situation in the area. "However, at the same time we can see that bombing raids continue just a few kilometers away, in the suburbs, in the outskirts of Aleppo, just as in other parts of Syria," he said.

Need to separate moderate opposition from Jabhat al-Nusra

The top diplomat stressed there is a strong need to separate the moderate opposition from Jabhat al-Nusra (renamed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, terror group lawed in Russia) in Aleppo.

"All parties to the conflict should fulfill their obligations in order to alleviate the predicaments of the people in Syria, namely in Aleppo, and stop this catastrophe. Establishing a ceasefire has been and still remains the first step on this path," Steinmeier said. "The urgent separation of the opposition from Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group is equally important," he stressed.

"This, along with the deliveries of humanitarian aid to the Syrians is a prerequisite for being compassionate and civilized, and an obligation by the world community that has accepted the challenge of ensuring a political solution to the conflict under the UN’s leadership," he emphasized.

"As the main ally of the Syrian government, Russia has a special responsibility," the minister noted. "However, we call upon all other parties (to the conflict), particularly those who carry weight within the region, to support the efforts aimed at ending the population’s suffering."

"It is very important that the Syrian opposition retains its unity. I have thanked Riad Hijab for his great input in preserving the opposition’s cohesion," Steinmeier noted.

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