First Published: 2012-11-07

 

British PM: Assad’s exit could be arranged

 

Cameron says he would agree safe exit for Syrian President, favour him facing justice for what he’s done.

 

Middle East Online

How can we put the pressure on Assad?

DUBAI - British Prime Minister David Cameron said he would support granting President Bashar al-Assad a safe passage out of Syria to end the nation's bloodshed, in a television interview Tuesday.

Asked what he would say if Assad requested a safe exit, Cameron told Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV: "Done. Anything, anything to get that man out of the country and to have a safe transition in Syria."

"Of course, I would favour him facing the full force of international law and justice for what he's done," he said, according to a transcript of the interview made available to the press.

"I am certainly not offering him an exit plan to Britain but if he wants to leave, he could leave, that could be arranged," he added.

On a tour of the Middle East, Cameron arrived in Jordan on Tuesday night for talks with King Abdullah II on Wednesday.

"I am very frustrated that we can't do more," Cameron said, as he concluded a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates.

"This is an appalling slaughter that is taking place in our world today -- 40,000 lives lost already and you can see, on your television screens, night after night, helicopters, airplanes belonging to the Assad regime pounding his own country and murdering his own people," he said.

Cameron's official spokesman in London said the premier was reiterating London's position that Assad should face justice, but that the priority is for a transition in the war-torn country.

"He (Cameron) is reiterating our position which is that we want Assad to face the full force of international law for what he has done but our top priority is to see a transition in that country," the spokesman said.

"That transition cannot happen while Assad is in place and therefore we need him to go," he added.

In the interview, Cameron highlighted the need to help the opposition, without elaborating how.

"We must ask ourselves what more can we do: how can we help the opposition? How can we put the pressure on Assad? How can we work with partners in the region to turn this around?" Cameron said.

But when asked about arming the rebels, he said: "We are not currently planning to do that. We are a government under international law and we obey the law."

"My fear is, firstly, that the slaughter will continue, that the loss of life will continue. That should be our number one concern."

He said that Britain had provided aid to Syrian refugees worth £39 million ($62.3 million).

In August, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain would give Syria's rebels £5 million ($8 million) in assistance, including body armour and communications equipment, to use in their fight against Assad's forces.

Hague said at the time that weapons would not be provided but that Britain would step up contacts with opposition groups to lay the ground for a political

solution.

The Syrian National Council umbrella opposition group is holding intensive talks in Qatar to broaden its membership to include other opposition factions as Washington mounted pressure for a wider representative body.

 

UN chief calls for immediate Yemen ceasefire

New round of Libya rival talks in Morocco

General Dempsey: Military option on Iran 'intact'

Assad accuses Turkey of torpedoing UN Aleppo truce plan

Iraq massacre site turns into memorial

Iraqi forces kill Hussein deputy in Salahuddin province

Israeli coalition talks approaching deadline

Turkish PM condemns EU resolution on Armenian genocide

Tehran calls for immediate Yemen peace talks

EU urged to label Israeli West bank products

Abadi to Iran: We welcome your help as long as you respect Iraq sovereignty

Anger in Indonesia as Saudi Arabia executes second woman

France jihadist attacks fuel unprecedented rise in Islamophobia

Turkey mine chief: ‘I am not a murderer’

France sees progress in Rafale jet negotiations with UAE

Lebanese TV contempt trial opens at slain Hariri tribunal

Fresh round of Iran nuclear talks April 22-23 in Vienna

Yemen calls on renegade army units to drop support for Huthis

UN envoy condemns Libya air strike as 'unacceptable'

African migrants’ hope of reaching Europe dashed

Armenian senior advisor to Turkish PM retires

Egypt to demolish ousted Mubarak’s party HQ

Slow turnout in Sudan polls

UN peace envoy to Yemen quits

Reconquest of all of Anbar remains out of reach for now

Iran holds Obama 'accountable' for fate of nuclear agreement

Arab coalition mulls large-scale manoeuvre in preparation for ‘ground assault’

Libya appeals for Russia support over arms embargo

Turkey vows to brush off any EU genocide decision

Bashir heads toward widely expected victory with ‘empty ballot boxes’

Rebels in southern Syria reject all forms of cooperation with Qaeda affiliate

21 million children in MENA region at risk of having no education

Two military cadets killed in Egypt bombing

Egypt, Saudi consider holding joint military exercise

Kerry 'confident' US can reach Iran nuclear deal

Libya rival talks in Algiers 'great success'

World powers up pressure on Yemen rebels

HRW cites 'strong' evidence of Syria regime chemical attacks

UN Security Council blacklists Houthi leaders

Egypt court backs deportation of gay foreigners to ‘safeguard morality’

Obama hails 'serious progress' in fight against ‘Islamic State’

Iran to West: Let us take ‘irreversible steps’

UN imposes arms embargo on Yemen Huthi rebels

Palestinians gain ground in battle for Yarmouk

UN calls for probes into Yemen civilian casualties