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Angela Merkel puts her faith in the UN General Assembly

Speaking in St. Petersburg, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that the G20’s discussion of the crisis in Syria had been important. There is, she said, "a broad consensus, that it is vital to launch a political process". The German government has now endorsed the joint statement on Syria.

The opening session of the United Nations on 23 September could be the starting point for a political process of this sort. Germany will certainly be endeavouring to make this the starting point, said the Chancellor.

The International Criminal Court too should be consulted, to make it quite clear to Bashar al-Assad that he is committing crimes. In her meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, she had stressed that the inspectors must present their report rapidly, said the Chancellor. "The Secretary-General has promised us that he will act as swiftly as possible."

The Chancellor did, however, point out that the desired political process will be difficult to achieve, in terms of dealing with both the Assad regime and the rebels.

Common position of EU foreign ministers

One day after the G20 summit, the EU foreign ministers, meeting in Lithuania, agreed on a common position on Syria.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert reported, "The signal sent by a united Europe that has agreed on a common position with respect to this dreadful conflict is invaluable. The success of Vilnius demonstrates how right we were in St. Petersburg to insist that we first hammer out a common European position."

This is why the German government endorsed the joint statement on Syria proposed by the USA in St. Petersburg only after discussing the matter in depth with EU partners and agreeing on a joint EU statement.

Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, had also requested that major member states refrain from committing themselves at the summit in St. Petersburg immediately prior to the meeting of EU foreign ministers. This is why the German government attached very great importance to ensuring a common position shared by the EU member states, underscored government spokesman Steffen Seibert at Monday’s federal press conference.

The German government believes it is still important that the results of the UN inspectors be presented to the United Nations Security Council, and it expects the Security Council to accept its responsibility.

Clear response needed to poison gas attack

Speaking during the debate held in the German Bundestag last week, the Chancellor described the situation of the people in Syria as disastrous. There can be no doubt, she said, that there has been a massive violation of international law with the horrendous use of chemical weapons. We must leave no stone unturned in our efforts to achieve a common response on the part of the international community.

Germany takes in more Syrian refugees

In the debate in the German Bundestag, the Chancellor underscored Germany’s humanitarian commitment. More than 340 million euros have so far gone to lessen the suffering of Syrian refugees. Germany was the first EU member state to offer to take in more than 5,000 refugees. We must work together to get other European nations to follow this example, she said.

On Wednesday the Federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich will personally welcome the first 110 Syrian refugees for whom the German government has chartered a flight. They will be landing in Hannover. Some 250 refugees have already made their own way to Germany.

Saturday, 07. September 2013

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