Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has backed the defense of her Secretary of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (both CDU) for an international stabilization mission in northern Syria. The idea to set up protection zones there, was "very promising, even if many questions are still open," said Merkel, according to information from the German Press Agency from participant circles in the meeting of the Union faction. At the same time, she emphasized that protection zones would only work with a mandate from the United Nations and in a system of collective security.
Merkel announced that she would speak at a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the proposal Kramp-Karrenbauers. The "idea is always worth trying to implement," she said. "We have a duty to seek solutions to the crisis." The plans should now also be discussed in the coalition.
The topic of protection zones for Syria is not new, said Merkel according to this information before the members of the Union. Already in 2016, they talked about this at an EU summit in connection with Aleppo. But the idea has always been a failure of Russia's veto.
It must be prevented that Turkey in northern Syria "forever there in occupied territory," said Merkel accordingly. Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to win allies for an international stabilization mission in the contested North Syria. She too spoke in favor of a UN mandate in order to enable Bundeswehr involvement. She also received a lot of support from the Union faction. The CDU foreign expert Norbert Röttgen has spoken of a "paradigm shift in German and European foreign policy," it said. "We act in our own interest," he was quoted as saying. If the EU does not agree, Germany, France and the United Kingdom must go first. The parliamentary managing director Michael size-Brömer said, it is often complained that Germany only in international crises watch - therefore go Kramp-Karrenbauer with their suggestion a courageous step, which is in itself conclusive. She also received support from CSU Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.
In contrast, the SPD reacted angrily to Kramp-Karrenbauer's approach. "I do not think much of SMS diplomacy, which quickly turns into SOS diplomacy," said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) in Berlin on Tuesday. Kramp-Karrenbauer had warned him shortly before the announcement of their proposal in a short text message, but said no details. In terms of content, however, the Foreign Minister renounced a clear positioning. "There is also, and that is undeniable, some irritation among our partners," he said simply.
The Federal Armed Forces Commissioner, Hans-Peter Bartels (SPD), told the editorial network Germany that the Bundeswehr does not care about additional tasks. "Already, 17,000 German soldiers are involved in international operations, from Afghanistan to the NATO Response Force." In the afternoon Merkel, Kramp-Karrenbauer and Maas as well as Finance Minister Olaf Scholz met for an interview. The SPD did not want to comment on that.
Pure distraction maneuver
The opposition also met with criticism from the opposition. From a "ludicrous proposal" said Left Group leader Sahra Wagenknecht "That's the last thing Syria needs," she said. "In that regard, one really has to hope that the SPD brakes this spirit trip of the Secretary of Defense." Green Party leader Anton Hofreiter said he had the impression that this was a "pure distraction maneuver" because the federal government is not confident to find "clear words" against the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "Those who do not even dare to use diplomatic means should be silent about Bundeswehr missions," said Hofreiter. The FDP chairman Christian Lindner criticized, apparently the attack was not even fully coordinated within the Federal Government. "It creates the impression, this is about profiling efforts of individual cabinet members."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was open to a four-party meeting with his European NATO partners. British Prime Minister Johnson proposed a meeting with him, Merkel and Macron, Erdogan said in Ankara. This is possible, on the condition that it takes place in Turkey. The Turkish President visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on the Black Sea on Tuesday afternoon to speak about northern Syria.
The Kremlin announced that it would consider Kramp-Karrenbauer's proposal for a humanitarian security zone. There is no such thing as a position, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov of the Interfax agency.