Britain to ease stance on Assad's removal
Britain is expected to drop its opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's involvement in Syrian peace talks, local media reported Monday.
Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated his stance that Assad "couldn’t be part of Syria’s future” but appeared to relax the U.K.’s attitude to the regime’s immediate removal as part of a peace deal.
"He has butchered his own people,” Cameron said, the Press Association reported. "He has helped create this conflict and this migration crisis. He is one of the great recruiting sergeants for ISIL. He can't play a part in the future of Syria and that position hasn't changed.”
ISIL is an acronym for Daesh.
Speaking to journalists on a flight to New York to attend the UN General Assembly, Cameron added: "Obviously conversations about how we bring about transition are very important and that's what we need to see greater emphasis on.”
Britain’s attitude reflects comments made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when he visited London earlier this month. He said Assad's removal should be seen in context of the Geneva process and "doesn't have to be on day one or month one”.
The 2012 Geneva communique calls for the establishment of a transitional government in Syria that would include members of the opposition and Assad’s administration.
Asked if Assad should be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court, Cameron said: "People who break international law should be subject to international law.”
Cameron is due to meet Iran’s President Hasan Rouhani in New York for the first meeting between the two countries’ leaders since Britain reopened its embassy in Tehran this summer, four years after it was stormed by protestors.
Iran and Russia are staunch supporters of Assad. The prime minister is not expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Unlike other world leaders, Cameron will not make a keynote speech at the UN, something that was criticized by the opposition Labour Party. Leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was "disappointing that David Cameron isn’t showing leadership” on the Syrian conflict.
Last Modified: 2015-09-28 10:54:43
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