BERLIN — Germany won’t participate in possible military action in Syria, but supports sending a message that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday.
Merkel stressed the importance of a united position in response to an alleged attack in Douma that the West is blaming on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.
“Germany will not take part in possible military action — I want to make clear again that there are no decisions — but we see, and support this, that everything is being done to send a signal that this use of chemical weapons is not acceptable,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin after meeting Denmark’s prime minister.
The German leader said she spoke Thursday with French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been talking regularly this week with U.S. President Donald Trump about the most effective response to the alleged chlorine gas attack.
Post-World War II Germany typically has been reluctant to engage in military action, and parliamentary approval is required for any military missions abroad. The country often has restricted itself to supporting roles, such as the participation of a German refueling plane and Jordan-based reconnaissance jets in the current international campaign against the Islamic State group.
“I think it is important to have a common line, without Germany participating militarily,” Merkel said. “If the permanent representatives in the (U.N.) Security Council were to initiate steps … going beyond the diplomatic dimension, then we will be supportive.”
She did not specify how Germany might be supportive. And Merkel avoided a question about whether she was concerned that a conflict between Russia and the United States could ignite following Trump’s tweet Wednesday announcing upcoming strikes against Syria with the words “Get ready Russia.”
The crisis over Syria is being handled “with caution,” Merkel said. But she added that the violation of international rules against chemical weapons is serious, and “the reactions will be appropriate.”