France, Germany welcome ‘useful’ meeting with US on Syria

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, second from left, and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attend a meeting on the conflict in Syria during a meeting of the G-20 Foreign Ministers in Bonn, western Germany, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (Oliver Berg/pool photo via AP)

BONN, Germany (AP) — The foreign ministers of France and Germany are sounding a positive note after new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took part in a discussion about Syria on the sidelines of a diplomatic summit in Bonn, Germany.

France’s foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, says the meeting Friday was “particularly useful,” noting 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.”

His German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel told reporters that Tillerson “participated vigorously” in the discussion, which also included top envoys from Italy, Britain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and the European Union.

Both said they hope diplomats will be able to make progress at next week’s Syria talks in Geneva.