Merkel says 'military efforts', talks needed on Syria

4th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday that "military efforts" were needed in Syria but they would not be enough to end four years of bloodshed in the war-scarred country.

Merkel urged talks with all sides in the conflict, in an interview with public broadcaster Deutschlandradio.

"On Syria, I have said we will need military efforts -- but military efforts will not bring about a solution," she said.

"We need a political process, which has had a difficulties getting under way."

The German leader reiterated a call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be involved in any peace talks to end the conflict, noting that his representatives had taken part in several rounds of UN-led negotiations in Geneva.

"That is not to say that we don't see what horrible things are happening -- what Assad has done and is still doing with barrel bombs against his own people," she said.

"But to achieve a political solution, I need representatives of the Syrian opposition as well as representatives of those in power at the moment in Damascus and others, and above all the allies of the various groups, to achieve real success."

Merkel said the United States and Russia could play an "important role", noting that she had spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the Syrian conflict during talks in Paris last week on the margins of a meeting about Ukraine.

She also cited Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as Germany, France and Britain as global players which belonged at the negotiating table.

"We Europeans also bear a responsibility," she said.

The United States and France have carried out military action in Syria and Russia conducted its first air strikes last week against what it said were Islamic State jihadists.

But Germany has repeatedly ruled out any military engagement in the conflict.

© 2015 AFP

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