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.

 

Egypt court hands Al-Jazeera reporters three years in prison

Brief truce between Syria regime and rebels collapses

Deadly terrorist blast rocks Karanah suburb in Bahrain

Mounting death toll of security forces triggers questions in Turkey

Toll in Libya shipwreck tragedy rises to 111

Kurdish forces free seven Iraq villages from clasps of ISIS

UN to host new round of Libya peace talks next week

US names ‘First Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs’

Al-Qaeda lashes 10 in Yemen for blasphemy, alcohol

Turkey PM to form cabinet ahead of November polls

Iraq PM orders forces to prepare to open Green Zone

71 'Syrians' dead in Austria truck tragedy

UN conference on plight of minorities persecuted by IS

Spain judge accuses suspect of running IS Morocco network

Yemen army recruits 4,800 southern fighters

Israel to use agriculture to win friends in Africa

Syrian refugees desert Middle East for Europe

At least 76 die as boat sinks off Libya

UN pursues Syria chemical weapons probe

US says IS cyber jihadist killed in Syria strike

Iran premieres big-budget epic film 'Muhammad'

S.Sudan govt calls peace deal 'reward for rebellion'

Serbia, Macedonia urge EU action on migrants

South Sudan peace deal given cautious welcome

Two Iraqi generals in Anbar suicide bomb attack

IS seizes five villages from rebels in Syria's Aleppo

Syria regime, rebels agree new 48-hour truce for three towns

Shebab gunmen ambush Somali army convoy

Iraq PM plans to implement constitutional reform

Muslims not doing enough to fight IS: Queen Rania

Lebanon charges radical Islamist Al-Assir with 'terrorism'

Qaeda group blows up Yemen army HQ in Mukalla

Palestinian rivals agree ceasefire in Lebanon camp

New migrant tragedy in Mediterranean: 40 people dead, 2,000 in danger

Tehran's shoe-shine man in a red stiletto

Saudi King to meet Obama next month on first trip to US as monarch

Turkey PM invites pro-Kurdish MPs into caretaker cabinet

Car bomb attack kills Syria opposition commander in Turkey

Arab League postpones meeting on joint military force

Erdogan sends clear message to voters: It’s either AKP or instability!

South Sudan leader meets regional leaders ahead of peace deal

Saudi Arabia ‘holding’ key suspect in 1996 Khobar bombing

Israel releases second group of migrants from desert facility

US military may have skewed reports on progress against ISIS

Aid groups launch joint call to end Gaza blockade