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Germany Sees Russia Playing Key Role in Reaching Syria Truce | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel speaks during a news conference in Irbil, Iraq on April 20, 2017. (Reuters)

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel stressed on Monday the significant role Russia can play in achieving a ceasefire as he embarked on a Middle East tour that he kicked off in Jordan.

A truce in the war can only be achieved with the help of Russia as the only country with “real influence” over the Syrian regime, he told a press conference in Jordan.

He said that he believes it is in Russia’s interest to put an end to the fighting quickly.

Russia should not wait until the Syrian regime “feels strong enough that it believes it no longer needs to listen to Russia” and considers Iran a sufficient ally, he warned the minister.

Gabriel stated that talks on a political solution should address the Russian, US and all regional interests, including Jordan’s. He added that Europe should play an active role because it is directly affected by the civil war, including by hosting millions of refugees.

Gabriel will head to Israel later on Monday where he is expected to press officials for a two-state solution.

“With respect to the Middle East conflict, our solidarity with Israel also means working to ensure that Israel and Palestine can live side by side in dignity and peace,” he said in a statement released as he departed for the region on Sunday.

“Only a two-state solution will be sustainable,” he said.

Gabriel’s visit, his first since becoming foreign minister in January, comes as German concerns about Israeli settlement building have dragged ties to their lowest point in years.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in March canceled a summit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that was due to occur in Jerusalem in May, and said she was worried that Israel’s building of settlements in the occupied West Bank was undermining progress towards a two-state solution.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen since 2014 and settlements are one of the most heated issues. Palestinians want the West Bank and East Jerusalem for their own state, along with the Gaza Strip.