The future of the ceasefire in Syria hinges on a genuine dialogue advancing the political process in the war-ravaged country, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier warned [27 February 2016].
Speaking to Welt on Sonntag newspaper on 27 February, Steinmeier said, “Thousands of Syrians were still sceptical when they emerged from the protection of the bunkers and ruins last night. For the first time in many years, they woke up with the hope of a day without massive bomb attacks, without missiles, a day without fear. The agreed ceasefire was not immediately observed one hundred per cent everywhere. For the first time, however, there is a chance of a genuine breathing space.
“It seems to be much quieter in many parts of the country. And it is clear that with every hour the ceasefire holds, the hope of peace in Syria grows for millions of Syrians not only in the country itself but also for those around the world who have fled war and terror. This also means there is a greater onus on everyone not to dash these dreams.
“We cannot allow provocateurs to destroy what has been achieved during the last few weeks since Munich,” Steinmeier warned.
He said, “It is also important now that we use the opportunity provided by the ceasefire to further improve humanitarian access. The Syrian Government bears the primary responsibility for this. Assistance must be allowed into Syria quickly so that help to stabilise the situation on the ground can be provided wherever possible. We are talking about this with UNDP, GIZ and others. Most importantly, as agreed in Munich and recently announced by [UN special envoy] Staffan de Mistura, a genuine political dialogue between the opposition and the regime must now begin. For the ceasefire will not hold forever without genuine political change,” he warned.