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British Prime Minister to focus on Syria at G20 in Russia

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 19:54

London: Syria will dominate the bilateral agenda between Britain and other countries attending the G20 summit in Russia later this week.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to push Russia and others to back a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict as well as a tougher UN response at the St Petersburg summit scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

"It is in bilateral meetings that Syria will be a dominant issue in St Petersburg and should be. The Prime Minister will of course be pursuing it... Through every channel in St Petersburg, as he has done and I have done in a whole series of bilateral and multilateral meetings over the last few months," UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons here today.

"Our problem is not being unable to discuss these things in the international community it is being unable to agree how we bring about a transitional government in Syria, formed from government and opposition by mutual consent.

There is no shortage of venues for discussing those things, platforms for discussing those things we have had two and a half years of discussion on this. It is agreement that is elusive, not a forum for discussion," he added.
Hague confirmed the UK government would hold talks with President of the National Coalition in Syria Ahmad Jarba on Thursday when there would be further talks on what Britain could do to help save lives.

The British PM had last week lost a parliamentary vote on joining US-led military action against Bashar al-Assad`s regime in Syria over alleged chemical weapons use, and the government says it has no plans to bring the issue back before Britain`s MPs.

Cameron`s spokesperson said: "It is no secret that a number of countries do not share our approach in a number of key respects. But that does not mean that we do not keep working with them and others.

"The outcome of the Parliament is that there is not going to be British military intervention as part of that response, but part of that response is also diplomatic and political and through a number of international bodies, the UN and the like."

While there is no timetable yet for possible bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg but Cameron still wants a "robust" response to the alleged chemical attack which killed thousands on August 21, his spokesperson added.


First Published: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 19:54
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