Steinmeier does not see al-Assad as future head of state acceptable to all Syrians
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier does not see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a future head of state acceptable to all Syrians.
"Given 250,000 fatalities and 12 million refugees, I personally cannot imagine al-Assad to be the figure acceptable to all groups of the population," Steinmeier told Interfax in an exclusive interview timed to coincide with his visit to Moscow.
He was asked whether Berlin insisted on the immediate resignation of al-Assad or would be ready for his tenure in a rather long transitional period.
"The Syrians should agree on the political future of Syria at negotiations. No matter what administration the country has in the future, the only way to ensure peace and stability is that it enjoys broad support across the country," he said.
"A partial withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria may give a fresh impetus to the peace negotiations in Geneva," he said.
"Hopefully, Damascus takes this chance and holds serious negotiations on the peace process of the political transition, which will preserve Syria's statehood and ensure prospective peaceful co-existence of various groups of the population," the German foreign minister said.