BERLIN (Sputnik) — Russia, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia must take part in the Syria settlement process, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday.
"We need Russia at the negotiating table, we need Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia. The settlement process will be long," she told reporters.
On Tuesday, the German government approved operations by its troops against Daesh in Syria. The German parliament is set to vote on the matter on Friday.
"As for our purposes, it comes down to the fight against Daesh (IS), to the destruction of camping sites and to depriving militants of the possibility to carry out terrorist attacks in the world," the minister said at a briefing in Berlin.
She added that "Germany has a keen interest in the regional situation settlement."
Von der Leyen added that the experience of Germany's limited participation in the antiterrorist coalition in Syria has been successful. She recalled that German military instructors in Iraq had been engaged in training the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, "successfully fighting" in Syria, for over a year.
The mission against Daesh, a violent religious extremist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries, will involve up to 1,200 German troops. The German Armed Forces plan to engage several Tornado reconnaissance combat aircraft and a frigate to support the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Mediterranean Sea. An aerial refueling aircraft, satellite reconnaissance and headquarters staff will support the mission.
Syria has been mired in a civil war since 2011, with the country’s government fighting against several opposition factions and extremist groups.
Representatives of Russia, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia convened in Vienna in October to discuss the Syrian settlement and worked out a nine-point plan on ending the ongoing Syrian civil war. The plan includes the definition of national unity, the defeat of extremist groups and assistance to refugees.
The last round of Syria talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna took place on November 14 The participating states set a six-month timeframe for Syria to form an interim unity government, whereas elections in Syria should be held within 18 months.