In the event of a slowdown in tending to people sick with coronavirus at our neighbours’ borders, we will obviously offer rapid assistance as long as our capabilities allow it, Germany’s FM Heiko Maas said in an interview for the RND website published on Saturday.
“Thanks to the new early alert system, we can now coordinate much faster than in the spring. I will count on this solidarity when the autumn turns challenging,” Mr Maas stressed.
Asked whether a risk of chaos on the border like that which occurred in the spring would return with the growing number of infections, the FM answered that “we don’t want to repeat the mistakes that we committed in the spring. This concerns borders as well. [The chaos at that time] resulted in kilometres-long traffic jams on the Polish-German border. This must not happen again.”
FM Maas stressed that he did not want a lockdown in diplomacy. “Conflicts, with which we are currently dealing, are hard to solve with videoconferences. When wars and conflicts are concerned, people have to know how to come together in person and look each other in the eye. It is possible, at least for now, thanks to the hygiene concepts that have been worked out. Just like everyone wants to avoid another absolute blockade in business and society, so I say ‘there must not be a diplomatic blockade’,” FM Maas said.
According to the minister, “an ice age” must not take hold of German-Russian relations, despite the fact that the EU had imposed sanctions on Russia in the context of the poisoning of Alexey Navalny.
“We sit at one table with Russians in the UN Security Council, in the Berlin Process on Libya and also on Ukraine. All of these rounds pertain to solutions that end wars. Regarding Ukraine and Libya, positive changes took place. The ceasefire in eastern Ukraine lasted the longest, since the beginning of the conflict. That is why there can be no end to the dialogue with Moscow. Too many people in the world rely on international society when ending these conflicts in dialogue with Russia is concerned.”
Asked about the approaching US presidential elections, the FM said that “with Donald Trump as the president, transatlantic relations became more complicated,” adding that “many times decisions were made without prior consultations, something that we were not able to understand. I would like the way with which we treat each other to change, regardless of who wins the elections.”