19:16 GMT +320 January 2020
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    The international community perceives Russia as an important military and political player amid its operation in Syria, outgoing German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in an interview with the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – According to Steinmeier, Russia launched its operation in Syria partially in order to challenge the provoking actions of the United States and Washington’s perception of Russia as just one of the regional powers. The German foreign minister said that it appears that Russia has reached its objective and that the world now perceives Russia as an important political and military player.

    Steinmeier did say that military power alone will not ensure that Russia has enough partners and that political means need to be used in order to solidify Russia’s influential position on the international arena.

    A civil war has been ongoing in Syria since 2011, with Russia supporting Syria’s legitimate authorities, the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, while the United States has sided with the so-called "moderate opposition" forces in the country. Apart from various opposition factions, terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIL, also known as Daesh) have been fighting against the Syrian government forces.

    The latest nationwide Syrian ceasefire, excluding extremist groups, came into effect on December 30. Russia, Turkey and Iran serve as guarantors of the agreement.

    Steinmeier told Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the joint Russia-Turkey efforts on Syria provide only temporary relief and that a permanent resolution of the conflict will need the involvement of other forces.

    Steinmeier critiqued UN mediation efforts on Syria but predicted that Syria peace talks will in the end be conducted only under UN auspices.


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