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Russia, Germany urge for ‘united, secular’ Syria

After a meeting between Russia’s and Germany’s foreign ministers, the two countries agreed for the need for a ‘secular, united’ Syria

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Both Russia and Germany agreed for the need for a united secular Syria inclusive of all of its groups, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Wednesday.

“After all, we agreed in Vienna about this as well, having reinforced the agreement in Munich. We should reach the deal on a united secular state in Syria, in which all the ethnicities could live in peace,” Steinmeier said at the joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Steinmeier also warned that there was no time to lose in peace talks on the Syria conflict, and urged all parties not to stall the negotiations.

“We are all aware ... there is no time to lose. Nobody, also none of the parties to the conflict, should try to run down the clock at this point,” he said.

In the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated that Russia and Germany agreed on the need for inclusive Syria peace talks in Geneva.

Lavrov also said maintaining relations with Germany was a priority for Russia.

Syria reviewing UN document

Meanwhile, the Syrian government will review a document handed to them by the UN special envoy on the intra-Syrian peace talks by the start of the next round of negotiations, the head of the Syrian government’s delegation said on Wednesday.

“We received a letter that will be studied after we return to Damascus,” Bashar Ja’afari told reporters after meeting Staffan de Mistura. “This paper will be carefully studied after we go back to capital and we will respond to it at the beginning of the next round.”

Ja’afari, who also said some of the Brussels attackers had fought in Syria before returning to Belgium, declined to take questions, suggesting that this round of negotiations was finished for the government delegation.

He did not say when the next round would begin, although they are expected in early April.

(With Reuters)