Berlin says withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria to negotiate a “political transition”

, 8:00 PM IST

Berlin: The announcement of withdrawal of Moscow’s forces from Syria will increase the pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to negotiate a “political transition”, Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said.

“If the announcement of a withdrawal of Russian troops materialises, this increases the pressure on President Assad to finally negotiate in a serious way in Geneva a political transition which maintains the stability of the Syrian state and the interests of all populations,” Steinmeier said in a statement yesterday.

A temporary ceasefire between Assad’s forces and opponents in the country introduced on February 27 has largely held, but it does not cover the IS and Nusra front groups.

Fresh peace talks began in Geneva started on Monday with both sides locked in a bitter dispute over the future of Assad on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the conflict.

“If the ceasefire can be the sign that after five years of war, the parties in conflict are finally tired of war and admit that no one can militarily win the conflict, then there is a hope that after five years… A political solution can work,” Steinmeier added.