Germany not expecting breakthrough on Syria in Vienna
Germany's foreign minister said Wednesday he did not expect international talks in Vienna to yield a breakthrough on ending the war in Syria, but believes it could be the first step on the road to a political solution.
"I don't expect there to be a major breakthrough, the situation in the conflict zone is still too heated and the differences in the positions too wide," said Frank-Walter Steinmeier ahead of talks in the Austrian capital on Friday.
But the discussions could "bring us closer to the road towards a political solution," he said.
Steinmeier also welcomed the fact that foreign ministers from the United States, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia would all be sitting down at the same table for the talks.
"My impression is that.... there has been some movement, and that's what provides hope, because for the first time in Vienna, all the relevant parties whom we need to calm the situation in Syria will be sitting at the same table," he said.
A slew of countries including Germany as well as Britain, France, Egypt, Lebanon and the European Union have all also confirmed that they would join the talks.
But it is the inclusion of Iran -- a key backer of President Bashar al-Assad -- in the talks that marks a crucial shift as Tehran was excluded from earlier discussions mainly because of opposition from Washington and Riyadh.
© 2015 AFP