New Forest East

FOREIGN AFFAIRS – SYRIA – 11 November 2013

Dr Julian Lewis: But if there is no sign that the opposition will be able to overthrow President Assad, is not what the Government are doing and proposing rather unrealistic? Would it not be more practical, in terms of helping to stop the suffering, to try to negotiate a ceasefire between both sides without any preconditions?

[The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): Neither we nor other members of the Security Council would be opposed to a ceasefire, but my hon. Friend is aware of the history of these things in Syria. If it were possible to negotiate and enforce a ceasefire, it would be possible to do a great many other things as well. We are not even able to secure humanitarian access to areas at the moment, let alone negotiate an agreed ceasefire, so I do not think it is unrealistic to try to assemble a peace conference, based on a communiqué that all the permanent members of the Security Council and many of the regional countries were prepared to support last year, and to get a process going on that basis, which of course could include ceasefires, if we could only sit down and start deliberating on these things together.]