- Title: Germany says can be no major progress in Syria until Trump takes office
- Date: 21st November 2016
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (NOVEMBER 21, 2016) (REUTERS) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER AND IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER IBRAHIM AL-JAAFARI ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE CAMERAS (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, SAYING ABOUT SYRIA: "We know that until a new U.S. administration takes over in Washington there cannot be any major steps towards a political solution. Thus it is even more important - and we were agreed on this - despite the heated military situation we must find options for providing humanitarian aid to the population. That is of course particularly important for East Aleppo but also other regions of Syria where humanitarian supplies and medical care are completely lacking." AL-JAAFARI LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, SAYING ABOUT SYRIA: "The resumption of the bombardment of East Aleppo is a renewed escalation in a civil war that has been going on far too long. It has not only worsened the humanitarian situation but more people are dying and those who are contributing to this bombardment must take responsibility for that." CAMERAS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER, IBRAHIM AL-JAAFARI, SAYING ABOUT MOSUL ACCORDING TO SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION: "Up to now 1,700 Islamic State fighters have been killed, 120 prisoners and 650 destroyed explosive charges and car bombs. Iraqi forces have taken many prisoners. A third of the whole area of the government of Nineveh, which is bigger than the city of Mosul, has been liberated and I think that is a very good sign for positive progress and the success of the operation, and that it is going better than we expected." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS STEINMEIER LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER, IBRAHIM AL-JAAFARI, SAYING ACCORDING TO SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION: "Regarding the U.S. election and Trump, I would like to reiterate that we have no agreements with individual governments of any countries, but with have agreements with the countries themselves. That means we have a strategic agreement with the USA which already existed with George W. Bush, who was a Republican, then came a Democratic government led by Barack Obama and this support continued. Now the Republicans are in power again. That means that when it comes to other countries, we proceed on the basis of democracy and the constitution, so the strategies do not change with each president. Agreements are made and are binding for everyone, for the others too. That means that Iraq depends on its own forces and those of its friends in the world, in Europe or elsewhere." AL-JAAFARI AND STEINMEIER SHAKING HANDS, LEAVING
- Embargoed: 6th December 2016 16:15
- Keywords: Frank-Walter Steinmeier Ibrahim al-Jaafari Syria Iraq Mosul Donald Trump
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00159DZXAF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Iraq's foreign minister said on Monday (November 21) that the fight to wrest back control of Mosul from Islamic State was making progress, citing what he called better-than-expected cohesion within Iraqi security forces and the U.S.-led coalition.
Ibrahim Al-Jaafari said it was difficult to predict how long the battle would take, but more than 1,000 Islamic State fighters had been killed, 650 had been taken prisoner, and about one-third of the area had been freed.
"Those are very good signs for the positive results of the operations. It's going better than we expected," al-Jaafari told reporters after a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Al-Jaafari told reporters that he expected U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to continue to support Iraq in its battle against Islamic State, as well as urgently needed reconstruction efforts once Mosul was liberated.
He said Iraq would need a programme much like the Marshall Plan under which the United States helped Germany rebuild its infrastructure and economy after World War Two.
"We don't have agreements with individual administrations. We have agreements with countries," he said. Strategic support for Iraq had continued despite the transition in power from former President George W. Bush to Barack Obama, and he expected the same during the coming change at the White House.
"These strategies don't change with the presidents. Agreements are signed and then they are binding for all involved," he said.
Al-Jaafari said Iraq would not accept any intervention by Turkey in the border region.
Turkey is worried that Shi'ite militias who are supporting Iraqi forces could seek revenge against Sunni Turkmen in the city of Tal Afar, which sits on the main road between Mosul and Syria and has been a centre for insurgents in Iraq since 2003.
Al-Jaafari said Germany could potentially mediate with Turkey, but he had not asked for any specific help yet.
Steinmeier said it was important to stick to the agreement that the core areas of Mosul would be liberated by Iraqi Sunni forces, not Shi'ite militias.
He said he and al-Jaafari also discussed the resumed bombardment of eastern Aleppo in Syria, and said it was important to get humanitarian supplies to civilians there and in other parts of Syria.
"That is all the more important since we know that there will not be any big steps toward a political solution until the new administration takes power," he said.
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