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.

 

Libya forces launch ‘final battle for Sirte’

Dozens killed as Turkey ramps up unprecedented offensive in Syria

Yemen government cautiously welcomes US peace plan

Iraq officially asks Saudi Arabia to change ambassador

In Saudi city of Najran, Huthis commit war crimes with indiscriminate rockets

Iran arrests 'nuclear spy'

Egypt frees renowned rights lawyer, Malek Adly

Yemen shelling kills three-year-old boy in Saudi border region

Turkey sends more tanks into Syria to bolster military offensive

Turkey arrests former top diplomats over failed coup

Tunisia swears in new premier after approval from parliament

Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian in occupied West Bank

11 Turkish police officers killed in Cizre bomb attack claimed by PKK

French court suspends burkini ban

Tears as evacuation starts in Syria's Daraya

Turkey PM denies Syria operation singling out Kurds

Kerry, Lavrov meet for talks on Syria

Tunisia parliament to vote on cabinet proposal

Kuwait arrests govt employee promoting IS online

Turkey shells Kurdish fighters in Syria after warning

Oil prices fall on Saudi doubt on output cut

Jeddah meeting bears no fruit on Yemen conflict

Kerry in Saudi for talks on regional conflicts

UN Syria envoy expects 'impact' from Kerry-Lavrov meeting

Iraq parliament votes to impeach defense minister

Russia says will cooperate in Syria chemical attacks probe

Iraq forces take key town south of Mosul

Hamas to leave name off ballot in Palestinian elections

Iranian navy in 'unsafe' intercept of US destroyer

Three wounded in PKK attack on Turkey opposition chief's convoy

Erdogan to inaugurate Istanbul's third Bosphorus bridge

China to train Syrian troops

Turkey reinforces ground forces across border into Syria

Turkey says 'every right' to intervene if Kurds fail to withdraw

UN rights chief urges international probe of Yemen violations

Tunisia unity government to remain unchanged

Raped teen who took own life finally gets justice in Morocco

Syria rebels backed by Turkey tanks 'seize' Jarabulus

Libya's presidential council to present new cabinet

Syria regime, Kurds blast Turkish incursion

Biden: Washington told Kurds not to cross Euphrates

Israeli court shuns plea to unchain Palestinian hunger striker

Saudi police foil mosque suicide bombing

Kerry to meet Russia's Lavrov in Geneva on Friday

Kurdish forces in Syria prime target for Turkey