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Tuesday, 11 May 2021

UK refuses Arab League’s offer to give Assad safe passage

The British government insists that the Assad regime must be held accountable for human rights violations in Syria

Amer Sultan, Monday 23 Jul 2012
British Foreign Secretary William Hague addresses the media during a news conference in Tunis February 8, 2011. (Photo: Reuters)

The UK has said it will refuse to give Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad safe passage even if he agrees to stop the violence in Syria and relinquish power.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has insisted that Al-Assad and his associates be held responsible for “human rights violations and the killing of Syrian civilians.”

The Arab League called on Al-Assad to step down and offered him safe passage.

The UK government rejects the idea, adding that it is still waiting for the details of the offer.

“Our positions is still the same. Al-Assad should go and be held responsible for his regime’s crimes,” FCO spokeswoman told Ahram Online.

 She added that the UK is training and equipping groups of Syrian human rights activists to document “violations by the Syrian regime” and pass evidence to the UN Human Rights Council’s commission of inquiry.

William Hague, the UK foreign secretary, announced weeks ago that the activists have already played an invaluable role in gathering evidence.

“Such steps show that UK is very serious about the accountability for the crimes committed against civilians in Syria,” the spokeswoman said.

 UK, however, said it will not dictate to the Syrian people what to do.

“If the Syrian people reached a consensus on granting a pardon to the regime officials including President Assad, we are not going to object,” the spokeswoman confirmed.

“The choice is the Syrian people’s,” she added.

UK describes the Al-Assad regime as criminal and calls for intensifying pressure against it.

In a statement issued after the EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels earlier on Monday, Hague called for international action to stop violent crimes in Syrian.

The EU meeting endorsed a new package of sanctions against the Al-Asaad regime. “These new sanctions are a clear message to others close to the regime that if they continue to back  Al-Assad and commit acts of violence and torture against civilians, the international community will hold them accountable,” the statement said.

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