PressTV: UK foreign secretary signals shift in policy on Syrian president

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Britain has accepted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be allowed to run for re-election in the event of a peace deal in Syria, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said, a major shift in British policy which London had pursued since the beginning of the conflict that Assad must go.

Speaking in the UK Parliament on the eve of Prime Minister Theresa May’s meeting with new US President Donald Trump at the White House, Johnson acknowledged that the inauguration of Trump meant all sides needed to rethink their approach to Syria.

“It is our view that Bashar al-Assad should go, it’s been our longstanding position. But we are open-minded about how that happens and the timescale on which that happens,” Johnson told the House of Lords international relations committee.

“I have to be realistic about how the landscape has changed, and it may be that we will have to think afresh about how we handle this. The old policy, I am afraid to say, does not command much confidence.”

Johnson’s comments signal a dramatic reversal of British policy stretching back to the early days of the Syrian conflict. After he was appointed as foreign secretary in July last year, Johnson insisted that Assad had to go.

The official Foreign Office view has long been that Assad can stay only for a short period as part of a transitional government.

But the defeat of the militants in the Syrian city of Aleppo, Trump’s desire to forge closer ties with Russia, and the Turkish rapprochement with Moscow have changed the equation.

“We have been wedded for a long time to the mantra that Assad must go, and we have not been able at any stage to make that happen, and that has produced the difficulty we now face,” Johnson said, adding, “We are getting to the stage where some sort of democratic resolution has got to be introduced … and if there is a political solution then I don’t think we can really avoid such a democratic event. I think that is the way forward.”


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Author Details
{p}Press TV (stylised PRESSTV) is a 24-hour English language news and documentary network, affiliated with Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).{/p} {p}IRIB is state-owned but independent of the Iranian government in its management, and is the only legal TV and radio broadcaster inside Iran. IRIB's head is appointed directly by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and is considered to be close to the country's conservative political faction.{/p} {p}Press TV is headquartered in Tehran, and has offices and bureaus around the world, including London, Beirut, Damascus, Kabul, and the Gaza Strip. It bills itself as a third alternative to what it considers to be biased Western media and to Sunni media attached to radical Islamic terror groups; critics consider it a shill for the Iranian regime.{/p} {p}Press TV is the first Iranian international news network. Their global Tehran-based headquarters is staffed with outstanding Iranian and foreign media professionals. Press TV is extensively networked with bureaus located in the world's most strategic cities. They feature often neglected voices and perspectives from around the world with aim to build bridges of cultural understanding, encouraging cooperation and unity between human beings of different nationalities, and races. They bring to light untold and overlooked stories of individuals who have experienced the vitality and versatility of political and cultural divides firsthand.{/p} {p}PressTV Official Web Site{/p} {p}*All posts on behalf of PressTV are made by Jim W. Dean{/p}

5 COMMENTS

  1. This seems to be good news, but what right does Britain or anyone else have to decide who can and cannot be president of Syria? What if China decided that Boris Johnson, or Theresa May, or the Queen, must go? Would that be ok? “We are getting to the stage where some sort of democratic resolution has got to be introduced”. Assad was already elected by 87% of Syrian voters. He is the internationally recognized, duly elected, legitimate leader of Syria. The only democratic resolution any western nation could possibly persue is to stop interfering in Syria entirely. Interfering with foreign governments is not democracy, it’s global totalitarianism. It seems that political positions attract corruptible men and women, like flies on feces. I guess sometimes shit floats to the top.

    • @ Amelius, was diese Herrschaften sich anmaßen ist unglaublich. Wir sind die Herren der Welt! ergo bestimmen wir was zu geschehen hat. Der Planet ist aus den Fugen gekommen.

      America return to yours dreamland what you were bevore. Kind greetings all of you

    • @ Amelius, was diese Herrschaften sich anmaßen ist unglaublich. Wir sind die Herren der Welt! ergo bestimmen wir was zu geschehen hat. Der Planet ist aus den Fugen gekommen.

      America return to yours dreamland what you were bevore. Kind greetings all of you Werner Kämtner

  2. “We have been wedded for a long time to the mantra that Assad must go, and we have not been able at any stage (or on any stage) to make that happen” …. and shame on all of them

  3. Another attempt of a psycho country to install its legitimacy in world affairs. Who is Boris Johnson? A clown if you ask an Aleppo kid, a distant voice of war chronicles, and an advisor to a bloodsucking group of businessmen.

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