German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said that his country is ready to take part in the rebuilding of Syria, Quds Press has reported. Maas made his comment ahead of a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on Friday.
“If a political solution is found for Syria that ultimately leads to free elections, then we are ready to assume a share of the responsibility for reconstruction,” the German official explained. “We have an interest in ensuring that Syria becomes a stable country.” He pointed out that “neither the Russians, nor the Iranians, nor Turkey, will be able to do this on their own,” so that, “we will be called upon to play an important role.”
Maas also said that he would tell the Russians that there must be no major offensive in Idlib, that there must be a political process in Syria, and that guarantees must be put in place to protect those who have fled the country but wish to return.
“We cannot envision there being a permanent solution with Assad,” he added. “It should be noted that the UN-led process, which aims to bring about elections, places the final decision in the hands of all Syrians. This includes those who have fled their country and wish to return.”
Meanwhile, he pointed out, if the Russians want to give refugees the possibility to return to Syria, that’s something Germany welcomes in principle. “But it will not work if no one wants to take this opportunity to return to Syria, because they fear being persecuted, arrested and dispossessed.”