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Free Syrian Army members raise their weapons during a training session on the outskirts of Idlib, Syria
Image: dapd

Ruling out military intervention

June 11, 2012

Germany's defense minister has again argued against military intervention in Syria. But for the first time, a prominent member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has said that excluding the military option is a mistake.


Germany's defense minister on Monday rejected the suggestion that military intervention was the way to go in efforts to bring an end to the fighting in Syria.

In an interview published in the Monday edition of the daily newspaper Tageszeitung, Thomas de Maiziere lamented that “the continued waffling by people who bear none of the responsibility creates expectations in regions like Syria, thereby causing terrible disappointment.”

De Maiziere added that he found it "hardly bearable that some coffee house intellectuals call for the deployment of soldiers in the world without being accountable for it."

The defense minister's comments came a day after his counterpart at the foreign ministry expressed similar sentiments.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told the Sunday paper Welt am Sonntag that those who demand a military response must be fully aware of the risks. Westerwelle added that giving up on a political solution to the Syrian conflict would amount to giving up on the people of Syria.

Dissenting opinion

However, for the first time on Monday, one prominent parliamentarian from Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right coalition said he wouldn't rule out the use of force.

"In my opinion, the military option cannot be excluded," Philipp Missfelder told Deutsche Welle in an exclusive interview.

The foreign policy spokesman for the parliamentary bloc of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union also described international envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria as having "failed," something he described as "very regrettable."

Missfelder said that the international community needed to increase the pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "within the framework of a UN mandate," something that would "make clear that we mean business."

Missfelder's comments came amid growing frustration in the international community over their inability so far to stop the fighting in Syria. Previously both British Foreign Secretary William Hague and newly elected French President had said that the military option was at least conceivable.

pfd/msh (AP, dpa)

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