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.

 

US denies everything agreed on Iran nuclear deal

Iraqi forces liberate Tikrit after month-long battle

Palestine officially joins ICC

Arab coalition bombards rebels in Yemen's Aden

Ancient Libyan treasures now in ISIS' sights

Money over power for Turkey and Iran

Yemen FM calls for coalition to send ground troops

ISIS captures Yarmuk refugee camp in Damascus

Israel to African migrants: Leave or face jail

Turkish authorities detain leftists

Gazans hope ICC will get justice for Israel’s 'war crimes'

Egypt president urges Huthi rebels to 'back off'

Armed group takes prosecutor hostage in Istanbul

Palestine must wait for its day in court

UN rights chief expresses alarm on Yemen situation

Suicide blast in Iraq on bus carrying Iranian pilgrims

Arab coalition pounds Yemeni capital

Iraq forces ‘retake’ government HQ in Tikrit

Massive power cut causes chaos across Turkey

Kuwait emir pledges $500 million at Syria donors conference

Iran nuclear talks enter their final day

Assad does not see Russia, Iran interests in Syria

Confidence in Tunisia ability to rebound as museum reopens to public

Iran claims US drone killed two military advisers in Iraq

Court finds ex-Israel Premier Olmert guilty in corruption retrial

Deadly air strike hits camp for displaced people in northwest Yemen

Erdogan insists on visit to Iran despite war-of-words

UN chief in Iraq for talks with top officials

UN warns of horrifying Syria 'catastrophe'

Iran asks for explanation on Erdogan comments

One day to Iran nuclear talks deadline

Yemen ex-president's son sacked as ambassador to UAE

At time of war, cigar business launched in Syria

Yemen Huthi rebels bombed for fifth night

Saudi police officers wounded in Riyadh drive-by shooting

World leaders show solidarity with Tunisia in march against extremism

Guarded optimism as Iran nuclear talks close in on deal

Dialogue remains distant as Arabs vow to defeat Iran 'puppet' in Yemen

Egypt renews calls for creation of joint military force at Arab summit

Saudi ambassador to return to Sweden after diplomatic spat

Libya forces ‘withdraw’ from frontline bases near oil ports

Qaeda seizes 'majority' of Syria northwestern city of Idlib

Torturous Iran talks move into top gear in battle of wills

UN Security Council keeps Libya arms embargo in place

Saudi-led airstrikes target arms depots in Yemen capital