news_G20-Cooperation_17022017

Meeting in Bonn

Bonn, Germany (dpa) - Foreign ministers of the world's major industrial and emerging nations ended a two-day meeting on Friday.

"We need to co-operate with each other rather isolating each other," German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said at the end of the meeting of Group of 20 (G20) foreign ministers in the former German capital of Bonn.

The G20 meeting also marked the new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson debut on the world stage at the Bonn meeting where the US's top diplomat was was drawn into talks on a slew of global issues including the bloody conflicts in Syria and eastern Ukraine.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters that "it is important and absolutely instrumental for us to have a close dialogue with the United States on the Syrian issue and on many other issues."

Ayrault also joined Gabriel in playing down expectations of a breakthrough at peace talks in Geneva next week aimed at ending the six-year Syrian civil war.

"The path before us will be difficult," said Gabriel standing alongside his French counterpart earlier on Friday.

The two ministers were speaking following talks with other members of the so-called Friends of Syria group in Bonn on the sidelines of the G20 meeting.

"We should not underestimate the difficulties and dangers" said Ayrault. "This is not a done deal."

Representatives of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and opposition forces failed this week to reach a breakthrough in talks on humanitarian aid and maintaining a ceasefire in Syria in the Kazakhstan capital of Astana.

Gabriel told reporters while it was possible to envisage the Astana talks continuing they should be channelled into the Geneva peace process.

Initiated by France, Friends of Syria is an international group set up to find a solution to the Syrian conflict after Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution calling on Damascus to join peace efforts.

In addition to Germany and France, Friday's talks in Bonn on Syria also included envoys from Italy, the United States, Britain, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey, the European Union and Saudi Arabia.

Ayrault said that the election of a new US administration had provided the opportunity to review the prospects of finding a way to end the conflict in Syria.

At their meeting in Bonn, the Friends of Syria group signalled they also planned to step up their drive to end the conflict by gathering as often as possible.

The G20 meeting also threw its weight behind the UN's Agenda 30 for sustainable development, which is based on 17 goals such as stamping out poverty, action to combat global warming, gender equality and improving the standard of water supplies.

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