Frank-Walter Steinmeier.jpg
Photograph: OSCE/photothek

 German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called on Russia to lay down its weapons to allow humanitarian aid to reach the embattled city of Aleppo in northern Syria.

"I think the weapons must be silent so that people can be supplied with basic necessities," Steinmeier said Monday in Yekaterinburg, Russia's fourth-largest city, ahead of talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Fighting between Syrian government forces and the rebels first broke out in mid-2012 in Aleppo. After regime forces captured the last rebel supply route into the east last month, the UN warned that food supplies there would last only until mid-August.

Russia, a key ally of the Syrian government, last week announced three-hour humanitarian pauses over three days to allow aid into Aleppo. But the UN said the move was inadequate.

Both Steinmeier and Lavrov acknowledged that diplomatic ties between Germany and Russia were currently strained.

"I am convinced that the relationship will stabilize again sooner or later," Lavrov said, adding that Germany was a strategically important partner for Russia.

The countries have clashed repeatedly over Russian involvement in Syria and its role in secessionist fighting in eastern Ukraine.

More on this story

Russia rejects longer Aleppo ceasefire, hints at joint action with US

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday rejected his German counterpart's call for a ceasefire longer than the current three hours daily to allow humanitarian aid into the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Latest news

Merkel calls for fewer EU regulations as nationalist sentiments grow

As voters in the Netherlands, France and Germany show increasing support for nationalist, euro-sceptic political movements ahead of this year's elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for limits on EU regulations.

French prosecutors transfer Fillon case to investigative judge

The French judiciary has opened a formal investigation in connection with presidential candidate Francois Fillon to examine whether the employment of his wife as a parliamentary employee was a sham, the country's financial prosecutors' office said Friday.

White House bars major news outlets from press briefing

Major news organizations, which were Friday blocked by the White House from attending an informal press briefing, condemned the move just hours after President Donald Trump described parts of the media as "the enemy of the people."

Report: German intelligence spied on BBC, other foreign journalists

Germany's intelligence agency monitored foreign journalists at the BBC, the New York Times and other news organizations from 1999 onwards across several countries, according to a Friday report from Der Spiegel magazine.

Classroom for Islamic religious education opened in Split

A classroom for Islamic religious education, whose equipment was financially assisted by city and county authorities, was opened in the coastal city of Split on Friday.

Ministry say no licences for export of military goods to Saudi Arabia issued in 2016

The Economy, Enterprise and Crafts Ministry on Friday issued a statement regarding media reports about export licences for military goods, stressing that in 2016 it did not issue any licences for the export of military goods to Saudi Arabia.

Croatia for preserving Bosnia's stability

Croatia on Friday supported the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), calling on its authorities to adopt decisions in institutions, after a request by BiH Presidency Bosniak member Bakir Izetbegovic to review a ruling which acquitted Serbia of genocide.

Mexico is not a migrant "waiting room" for US, interior minister says

Mexico will not accept undocumented immigrants from other countries whom the United States plans to deport, Mexico's interior minister said Friday.

Right-wing populist Wilders declines first Dutch election debate

Candidates from nine Dutch parties answered questions from journalists Friday at the first national radio debate of the election campaign, but the leading candidate

Bosnian Croat reps insist on channel airing programmes in Croatian

Being one of the constituent peoples, the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are entitled to a broadcaster that will air programmes in their native language, HNS BiH official Ivan Vukoja said at a news conference in Mostar on Friday.

Same-sex couples in Slovenia can marry

A Slovenian law allowing same-sex couples to marry went into force on Friday and the first civil registrar ceremony, between two women, is to take place in Maribor on Saturday, the town's Vecer daily said.

Moody's changes Agrokor's outlook to negative

The Moody's rating agency on Friday changed its outlook for the Agrokor food retailer from stable to negative, affirming its rating of B3.