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Russia, Germany at loggerheads over Idlib

Germany has recently engaged with the United States, the UK and France to take a stronger stance on Syria. But as Chancellor Merkel encounters strong domestic opposition on potential military action in Syria, the significance of engaging with Russia increases.

On Sept. 14, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Berlin. He came to the German capital to take part in the closing ceremony of the Russian-German Cross Year of Regional and Municipal Partnerships. During his visit, Lavrov met with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to discuss bilateral trade and energy issues, such as the construction of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline, as well as the Skripal poisoning case in England, the crisis in eastern Ukraine and the situation in Syria. On most of the discussed international issues both countries have different and sometimes totally opposite views. Relations between Moscow and Berlin have been seriously damaged since 2014 over the crisis in Ukraine followed by the sanctions Germany, along with other European nations and the United States, imposed on Russia.

Until now Germany may not have been more critical but certainly has been less public about its Syria policy than France and the UK. Recently, Berlin has raised its profile on the issue, calling for concerted global efforts to prevent chemical weapons from being used in Syria.

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