German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has warned of growing estrangement between the West and Russia and the dire consequences this could have for global peace.
“Too Much at Stake”
In an interview with the newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Steinmeier discussed the deepening “alienation” between Russia and the West, particularly in the wake of the “Skripal case,” but criticized attempts to demonize Russia as a nation.
“We can’t declare the whole of Russia, the country and its people, as our enemy,” he said, warning there was “too much at stake.”
Steinmeier also decried the lack of trust between Russia and the West and underscored the urgent need to counter the paramount importance of bilateral attempts to countering the accelerating estrangement between the two.
Mentioning the armed conflict in Syria, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that a speedy agreement between the US and Russian presidents holds the key to a de-escalation of tensions in the war-torn Arab country.
“Of course you can’t do it without the regional neighbors in the end, but everything begins with the US and Russia,” Steinmeier told Bild am Sonntag.
“Putin and Trump owe it to the world to take the first step,” he added.
“We Need to Maintain Dialogue”
On Monday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that despite complicated relations with Moscow, Berlin was all set to continue a dialogue with Moscow.
“Russia has become a more complicated partner, but we still need to maintain a dialogue,” Maas told ARD TV.
He also mentioned the importance of Russia’s participation in the efforts to end the war in Syria.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump ordered to “launch precision strikes on Syria” in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, described by Moscow and Damascus as a false flag. The attack was joined by British and French air forces.
More than 100 cruise and air-to-surface missiles were launched at “civilian and military facilities” in Syria.
Russia slammed the strikes as an “act of aggression against a sovereign state that has been fighting against terrorism.”
The situation in Syria worsened significantly last week amid reports about the April 7 alleged chemical attack in the city of Duma located in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta.
The EU and the US rushed to blame the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, with Damascus refuting the allegations. Moscow has called for a thorough investigation into the alleged chemical attack before drawing any conclusions.