Central Player in the Region: Visit of Iranian Foreign Minister

June 27, 2017

The situation in the region is highly complex: the Qatar crisis, a humanitarian disaster in Yemen and the Syria conflict. This makes it all the more crucial to seek to engage in dialogue with Iran. On Tuesday (27 June) Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel met his counterpart Javad Zarif to discuss the many conflicts in the Middle East.

It was also an opportunity for the German Foreign Minister to call upon Iran to adopt a constructive stance to help defuse the crises in the region. During the meeting Gabriel once again stressed that Israel’s right to exist is non‑negotiable.

“A glimmer of hope in the world”

“Since the nuclear agreement in 2015, a historic window of opportunity has opened”, Gabriel declared. That is evidenced in many ways: political contacts are more intensive than they have been for a long time. Visits and trips have increased significantly. Economic and cultural contacts have intensified. The nuclear agreement has led to improved relations.

Gabriel regards the agreement of 2015 as “a glimmer of hope in the world”. He said that it was proof that the threat of a military confrontation could be prevented by diplomatic negotiations. Both foreign ministers praised the success in implementing the agreement and appealed to all parties to continue to comply with all obligations set down in the nuclear deal.

Diplomacy rather than escalation

Direct talks involving all participants would also be desirable in connection with the current situation in the region, not least so that the blockade on Qatar could be removed. “The longer the crisis surrounding Qatar lasts, the deeper and stronger the lines of conflict will become,” Foreign Minister Gabriel warned after the meeting with his opposite number. He therefore appealed to all parties not to fuel the conflict any further and exacerbate the crisis. “Further escalation is not in the interests of any of the parties.”  

Iran is a central player in the Middle East. Gabriel therefore issued the following warning with regard to the other conflicts in the region: “Iran needs to adopt a constructive role, as do the region’s neighbours.”