The Syrian government is ready to cooperate with international and regional efforts to fight terror, but efforts must be coordinated with it, the Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday.
Asked if Syria was ready to cooperate with the United States and Britain, he said: “They are welcome.”
Moualem, speaking at a news conference broadcast on Syrian state TV, also condemned the killing of U.S. journalist James Foley, who was executed by Islamic State, the militant group that has seized wide areas of Iraq and Syria.
Germany subsequently reported that Berlin had no diplomatic contacts with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and no plans to rekindle ties because of the threat posed by the militant group Islamic State (IS), a spokesman for the German foreign ministry said on Monday.
“The regime of President Assad has committed unbelievable injustice in every form during the civil war that has been raging for 3 1/2 years. Nearly 200,000 people have died,” the spokesman Martin Schaefer told a government news conference.
“To be honest it is very difficult to imagine that all this can be ignored in the name of Realpolitik, that one says, now we have ISIS, which is worse than Assad, so now we have to get into bed with the one that isn’t quite so bad,” he added.
“This is too simple. I am not aware of any thoughts or deliberations, whether in the fight against ISIS or otherwise, about working with the regime of President Assad,” Schaefer said. “I am not aware of any political or diplomatic contacts between Germany and the Syrian government.”
(Reporting by Mariam Karouny and Noah Barkin; Editing by Louise Ireland)
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