Germany shares Iran, Syria goals with US, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says | News | DW | 04.10.2018
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Germany shares Iran, Syria goals with US, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says

After meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Maas said the two nations have the "same goals" on Iran — despite the US decision to abandon the Iran nuclear pact. The meeting came amid strained trans-Atlantic ties.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his American counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reaffirmed areas of trans-Atlantic cooperation during a Wednesday meeting in Washington.

The 45-minute meeting comes during a time of strained relations between the US and Germany over the Iranian nuclear accord, economic sanctions, and the Trump administration's hostile position towards international organizations, among other things.

On the day of the meeting, Maas reiterated that Germany's partnership with the US "consisted of more than 280 Twitter characters, and America is also more than the White House."

"The US remains our closest partner outside of Europe," he added in his Tweet.

Maas and Pompeo discussed "countering Iranian and Russian aggression, the way forward on Syria, and other key shared priorities," such sharing the burden of NATO, a statement released by the US State Department read.

Maas was also scheduled to meet with with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

'Same goals' on Iran

Germany has criticized the Trump administration for abandoning the 2015 Iran nuclear accord. However, in remarks to reporters, Maas underlined that both Germany and the US want to curb Iran's ballistic missile program.

"In the end, we pursue the same goals with respect to Iran," Maas said. "We just have different paths that we want to follow."

The US has threatened to slap sanctions on companies that do business with Iran, while the EU has developed plans that would enable it to keep trading with Iran.

Both Germany and the US also want to see Iran withdraw from Syria, where it supports the regime of President Bashar Assad, as well as work towards a political solution to the seven-year-old civil war.

Maas stands next to Pompeo (Reuters/K. Lamarque)

Maas spent around 45 minutes talking with his American counterpart, Pompeo

More German support in Syria

Maas pledged more German support to US activities in Syria while underlining that German military participation in response to a potential chemical weapons' attack was not likely to get the necessary parliamentary approval.

Both countries agreed that the primary objective was to prevent such an attack from taking place.

"There are different ways to participate to help ensure that chemical weapons are not used there and that none are even present," Maas said.

Maas and Pompeo also discussed threats to global security and working towards North Korean denuclearization, the US State Department said.

The meeting took place on Germany Unity Day, a national holiday that celebrates the reunification of the country in 1990. Following his meetings with US officials, Maas headed to the German Embassy in Washington, where he celebrated the holiday and kicked off the Year of German-American Friendship, aimed at promoting German and American contact and understanding.

cmb/ng (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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