- Title: Germany's Maas: Some allies irritated by proposal for Syria security zone
- Date: 22nd October 2019
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (OCTOBER 22, 2019) (REUTERS) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER HEIKO MAAS AND LITHUANIAN COUNTERPART LINAS ANTANAS LINKEVIÄŒIUS ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE MAAS' HANDS REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, HEIKO MAAS, SAYING: "Since yesterday, after the CDU leaders' proposal, we have had some questions from our allies and there is some - this is indisputable - irritation amongst our partners. In light of the described situation there is currently no discussion among the partners to set up an international security zone." MAAS SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, HEIKO MAAS, SAYING: "One thing is clear to me: a security zone which permanently stabilises Turkey's military actions would not be worthy of the name. And a recognition and strengthening of the Assad regime through the back door must not happen either." VARIOUS OF MAN FILMING WITH MOBILE PHONE (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, HEIKO MAAS, SAYING: "I don't think much of SMS (text message) diplomacy. It can quickly turn into SOS diplomacy. But I am willing to discuss the issue again in the context of the present situation and that is necessary." MAAS SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, HEIKO MAAS, SAYING: "What's clear is that Germany has been and will be involved in solving the conflict even though it's difficult and lengthy which is probably what it will continue to be."
- Embargoed: 5th November 2019 12:40
- Keywords: Germany's defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer Angela Merkel's preferred successor as chancellor Syria Kurds Islamic State IS
- Location: BERLIN & GIESSEN, GERMANY / INCIRLIK, TURKEY
- City: BERLIN & GIESSEN, GERMANY / INCIRLIK, TURKEY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA001B26GPQF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday Germany had received questions and some irritation from allies after Germany's defence minister suggested creating a security zone in northern Syria.
Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer - also the leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) said the security zone should involve Turkey and Russia. She wants it to protect displaced civilians and ensure the fight continues against Islamic State militia, the first time Berlin has proposed a military mission in the Middle East.
"Since yesterday, after the CDU leaders' proposal, we have got some questions from our allies and there is some - this is indisputable - irritation amongst our partners," Maas said, adding there was currently no discussion among partners about creating such an international security zone.
Kramp-Karrenbauer, Angela Merkel's preferred successor as chancellor, said she would discuss the initiative with NATO partners this week and did not rule out sending German soldiers to Syria, saying that would be a matter for parliament.
Kramp-Karrenbauer's suggestion is something of a departure for Germany which has in the last two decades gradually stepped up its involvement in foreign missions but is still a reluctant partner, especially in the Middle East, due to the legacy of World War Two.
The proposal could raise tension within Merkel's coalition as the co-governing Social Democrats (SPD) are skeptical about any direct military involvement in Syria.
Kramp-Karrenbauer raised eyebrows by saying she had been in touch with SPD Foreign Minister Heiko Maas by text message.
"I don't think much of SMS (text message) diplomacy. It can quickly turn into SOS diplomacy," Maas told reporters when asked to comment.
(Production: Leon Malherbe, Fanny Brodersen, Timm Reichert, Michele Sani)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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