A five-hour pause in hostilities every day can be "no more than a first step" for the suffering people in Eastern Ghouta, declared Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel in a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Sigmar Gabriel urged all sides to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution, and facilitate an immediate ceasefire for Syria.
In a telephone call on Sunday (25 February) Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to "exert maximum pressure on the Syrian regime" in order to achieve an immediate ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta.
In the letter, France and Germany condemn in the strongest possible terms the targeted attacks of the Assad regime on the civilian population, and on civilian and medical infrastructure. These attacks, with many children among the victims, as an "absolute breach of international law".
In view of the suffering of the people in Eastern Ghouta, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron demand an immediate cessation of hostilities and the establishment of a ceasefire.
This is a precondition for getting assistance to the civilian population, in particular resuming United Nations humanitarian convoys and undertaking medical evacuations.
At the same time the two politicians urge Vladimir Putin to make additional efforts to achieve a political solution to the crisis in Syria. They called on him to make it possible for the United Nations Security Council to adopt a humanitarian resolution the same day.
On 21 February Kuwait and Sweden submitted to the United Nations Security Council a draft resolution calling for a ceasefire for Eastern Ghouta. The Russian government blocked the resolution, a move which has been severely criticised by the international community, including the German government. Another session of the Security Council on Friday evening was adjourned without any results.