Nato reacts cautiously to kramp-karrenbauer’s syria plan

nato reacts cautiously to kramp-karrenbauer's syria plan

Defense minister annegret kramp-karrenbauer’s plan for a syria protection force meets with a muted response from nato partners. Her u.S. Counterpart mark esper welcomed the initiative but does not want to contribute troops.

At a meeting of nato defense ministers in brussels, european allies acknowledged that there was an initiative at all. Publicly, however, no country has yet clearly backed kramp-karrenbauer’s proposal.

However, the european parliament passed a resolution by a large majority supporting their idea of an internationally controlled protection zone. Kramp-karrenbauer herself, for whom it was her first nato meeting since taking office, spoke of "very encouraging" initial talks. However, she also said, "this will still be a long process, a difficult road."

The defense minister continues to lack support from coalition partner spd. In brussels, she was therefore unable to speak on behalf of the federal government. Foreign minister heiko maas again showed restraint in the bundestag. "The decisive factor in the outcome is what we can agree on with our international partners in this situation," he said. "It will depend on which plans we continue to pursue and which not."

Maas surprisingly announced to fly to turkey on saturday to insist on a permanent ceasefire. He also wants to demand compliance with international law in dealing with refugees and support for political peace efforts for syria. Already on thursday, maas spoke with his russian colleague sergej lavrov about the situation in syria.

Turkish president recep tayyip erdogan still considers fighting possible. "If the terrorist organization continues to harass our country from these regions, then we will continue to carry out our plan of offensive here as well," erdogan said. In doing so, he contradicted u.S. President donald trump, who had previously held out the prospect of a permanent ceasefire on the part of turkey.

Erdogan had called maas a "political dilettante" after he announced restrictions on german arms exports in response to turkey’s syria offensive. It was initially unclear whether the two would meet in ankara.

Turkey invaded syria two weeks ago to oust the kurdish militia ypg, which it considers a terrorist organization. At the same time, the u.S. Troops previously allied with the kurds withdrew from the area. On tuesday evening, turkish president erdogan and kremlin leader vladimir putin reached an agreement in sochi on a further withdrawal of the ypg from the border areas and joint control of the region. Doubts had then been raised as to whether kramp-karrenbauer’s plan now made any sense at all.

The cdu chairwoman wants the syrian border area with turkey to be protected by a un force. However, she did not say how this force would be composed or whether the german armed forces would also participate. A un mission would have to be approved by the world security council and thus also by russia, which has a veto right in the most important un body. Russia, however, is considered a protective power of syrian president baschar al-assad, which is why there has been no chance of agreement in the security council on the issue of syria so far.

U.S. Defense secretary esper pledged "political" support for kramp-karrenbauer’s move. However, he also admitted that he did not yet know her plan in detail. "As far as i know, the proposal is about european partners wanting to conduct joint patrols in this new corridor. I think that is good."The u.S. Has been demanding for some time that european partners do more for security in this region of the world.

U.S. President donald trump had already sent his envoy for the anti-is coalition to berlin in july to demand german ground troops for syria to replace his own soldiers. At that time, chancellor angela merkel still refused to take part. The bundestag decided on thursday that the bundeswehr would still be able to withdraw from the armed forces by 31 december. March 2020 with "tornado" reconnaissance jets and tanker aircraft involved in the fight against the terrorist organization islamic state (is) in syria and iraq.

Nato secretary-general jens stoltenberg said after the meeting that kramp-karrenbauer had presented her ideas. There is broad support for a political solution in northern syria – also involving the "international community". Before the meeting, stoltenberg had welcomed the move in principle, but had also said that there were still many unanswered questions.

For countries like france, it is too early to evaluate the proposals, nato sources said. French minister florence parly, however, thanked kramp-karrenbauer on thursday for the initiative. The belgian foreign minister didier reynders was basically open-minded. However, the situation has completely changed since the agreement between russia and turkey.

The spanish european state secretary in the foreign ministry, marco aguiriano, also called on the eu to act in the "welt" newspaper: "we cannot simply accept such a situation so close to europe."Kramp-karrenbauer’s proposal would be examined as soon as more was known about it. He spoke of a "historic initiative" because it was the first time "that germany had made a proposal that could possibly lead to an intervention by armed troops on the territory of a third country".

In any case, the cdu leader has her own party behind her. There are already discussions about a possible participation of the german armed forces in an international protection force. "I do believe that germany, as a member of the un security council and the initiator of such a proposal, must participate in it," said the foreign policy spokesman of the unions’ parliamentary group, jurgen hardt, in the zdf morning magazine program. The spd, on the other hand, warned against a deployment of the federal armed forces. "This must not happen. This means a militarization of german foreign policy, and the spd cannot and will not go along with such a thing," said deputy party chairman ralf stegner.