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.
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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.