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Germany says talks with Assad may be necessary

The German foreign minister says talks with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be necessary in order to find a way out of the four-year-long crisis in the Arab country.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Wednesday that talks with Assad would become necessary as the only solution to the crisis in Syria is a diplomatic one.

“The way to end the violence will only be achieved through negotiations for a political solution. Even though this will require negotiations with the Assad government,” Steinmeier said in an interview with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The top German diplomat also supported ongoing efforts by the UN Secretary General’s special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, who is continuing negotiations with Assad and the so-called opposition groups.

The remarks by Steinmeier come against a backdrop of reactions by various governments to the idea of holding talks with Assad, which had earlier been proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Some governments, including Turkey, have reacted furiously to the call by saying nothing would come out of such talks. France and Britain have also adopted similar positions.

Kerry, whose country is a main supporter of anti-government militants in Syria, said Sunday that launching negotiations with Assad would be inevitable if a settlement is to emerge from the conflict, which has claimed the lives of more than 215,000 people since March 2011.

“We have to negotiate in the end” with Assad, Kerry said in an interview with CBS News.

Assad (pictured above) has reacted to Kerry’s proposal by saying that words alone are not enough and his government will wait for actions. He said on Monday that his government is leading the fight against the terrorist groups that the Western governments have started to perceive as a major threat to their security and interests.

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