News / Middle East

Britain Opens Direct Talks With Syrian Opposition

Britain's PMr David Cameron walks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and UNHCR representative to Jordan Andrew Harper during his visit to Al-Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, November 7, 2012.
Britain's PMr David Cameron walks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and UNHCR representative to Jordan Andrew Harper during his visit to Al-Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, November 7, 2012.
Selah Hennessy
Finding a solution to Syria’s civil war should be a priority for Britain and the United States, following the U.S. president's re-election, says British Prime Minister David Cameron. Britain says it will open talks with armed Syrian rebels.

Cameron was in Jordan visiting Syrian refugees at Zaatari camp, which houses about 30,000 people who fled war-torn Syria.

He congratulated U.S. President Barack Obama on his re-election and said one of the first things he hopes to speak with Obama about is how their countries must do more to solve Syria’s crisis.

"We want Assad to go, we want to see a peaceful, political transition and a safe country for the future. But right now, the international community has to recognize, that what we have done is not enough," said Cameron.

Numbers of Syrian Refugees, by Country

  • Turkey: 138,401
  • Lebanon: 133,634
  • Jordan: 123,747  
  • Iraq: 60,307

Source: UNHCR
In an interview Tuesday, Cameron said he would support giving safe passage to President Bashar al-Assad. On Wednesday, he added he would like to see Assad face full international justice.

Durham University Syria expert Daniel Newman said Cameron’s visit to the refugees is significant.

“It sends a very powerful message to the Syrian opposition that Britain is very much engaged with the situation and is taking a very active role,” said Newman.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he has directed British officials have direct contact with military figures in the armed Syrian opposition. He said the rebels would not be armed and any contact would take place outside Syria.

Newman said Hague’s statement is not a change in policy.

“What was there in the shadows, if you like, has moved out into the light of day,” said Newman.

He noted that the comments from Hague and Cameron demonstrate Britain is pushing for more engagement in an effort to resolve Syria’s crisis. An estimated 36,000 people have died in Syria’s conflict.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John from: Accra
November 08, 2012 4:57 AM
I thought Britain and the Western world never engaged terrorists or those who engaged in suicide bombings?


by: Michael from: USA
November 08, 2012 12:35 AM
I admire the Prime Minister in that his government extended itself to actually set foot on the site of this Syrian tragedy to see in person what is happening. All other supposed experts on Syria cannot claim likewise


by: K-Nar from: Germany
November 07, 2012 4:53 PM
soon you will feel the stench of British treachery... soon...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid