BERLIN, April 9. /TASS/. It is impossible to resolve the conflict in Syria without Russia, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper published on Sunday.
"I maintain close contacts with my Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov," he said. "It will be impossible to resolve the Syrian conflict without Moscow, and I have the impression that Russia will not always protect Assad."
In his view, "only a political solution that would involve Russia, the US and the key regional players will be able to put an end to people’s suffering. "Now it is important for us to overcome the lack of unity of the UN Security Council and push ahead with our efforts to achieve peace under UN auspices," Gabriel noted.
The minister said he does not think that a military conflict between Russia and the US is possible. "No," he said. "I proceed from the assumption that the US informed Russia about its military operation in a proper manner." He noted that the situation was rarely as serious as now since the Cold War era, adding that it is necessary to preserve a sober-minded approach. "What we do not need is a new escalation," the German top diplomat said.
According to Gabriel, the German authorities "have information provided by partners and sources on the ground, which looks very convincing" regarding the Assad government’s responsibility for the alleged chemical attack in Idlib. "It is important to make sure that the UN and experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) get immediate access and are able to conduct an investigation without any obstacles," he said.
However, he ruled out the Bundeswehr’s participation in new potential US strikes on Syrian army positions. "The mandate approved by the Bundestag is unequivocal. We support the fight against the Islamic State (IS, terror group, outlawed in Russia - TASS), but not the war against Syria," he emphasized.
"I very much hope that international pressure will not allow the Syrian regime to violate international law and use poisonous gas against innocent men, women and children," the German minister went on to say. "The use of chemical weapons is a blatant violation of international law. As for Assad’s accomplices, we are talking about hard-core criminals," he asserted.
"No one has inflicted as much suffering on people as the Assad regime," Gabriel said. "I am confident Assad will be held accountable for these crimes sooner or later. Anyway, he future, has already left behind," Gabriel noted.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted in a telephone conversation with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel that Washington’s arguments for its attack against Syria’s airbase were neither credible nor trustworthy, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday following conversation initiated by the German side.
The top diplomats "focused on the situation in Syria after the US Armed Forces’ strikes on Syrian government forces overnight to April 7."
Lavrov "outlined in detail Russia’s stance on Washington’s illegal actions, which are an act of aggression and a flagrant violation of international law, run counter to the goals of the war on terror and undermine regional and global security."
"The Russian minister noted that the US arguments in support its illegal armed attack in particular the reference to the use of chemical weapons in Idlib by the Syrian government forces on April 4 are unreliable and unconvincing," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"Russia has emphasized that the incident should be thoroughly investigated and facts should be established," the ministry added.