Germany says no plans to reengage with Assad due to IS threat

BERLIN Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:46am EDT

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad delivers a speech after being sworn in for a new seven-year term, at al-Shaab presidential palace in Damascus July 16, 2014, in this picture released by Syria's national news agency SANA.  REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad delivers a speech after being sworn in for a new seven-year term, at al-Shaab presidential palace in Damascus July 16, 2014, in this picture released by Syria's national news agency SANA.

Credit: Reuters/SANA/Handout via Reuters

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has no diplomatic contacts with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and no plans to rekindle ties because of the threat posed by the militant group Islamic State (IS), a spokesman for the German foreign ministry said on Monday.

"The regime of President Assad has committed unbelievable injustice in every form during the civil war that has been raging for 3-1/2 years. Nearly 200,000 people have died," the spokesman Martin Schaefer told a government news conference.

"To be honest it is very difficult to imagine that all this can be ignored in the name of Realpolitik, that one says, now we have ISIS, which is worse than Assad, so now we have to get into bed with the one that isn't quite so bad," he added.

"This is too simple. I am not aware of any thoughts or deliberations, whether in the fight against ISIS or otherwise, about working with the regime of President Assad," Schaefer said. "I am not aware of any political or diplomatic contacts between Germany and the Syrian government."

(Writing by Noah Barkin)

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