G8 – Syria

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): I welcome the Prime Minister’s statement that there can be no military victory in Syria. In his search for a political solution, may I caution him on his apparent insistence on a precondition? Northern Ireland shows that preconditions do not work. He and I share exactly the same view of Assad’s barbarism, but if he insists that Assad cannot come to the conference or play any subsequent role, I caution him that the conference might never happen.

The Prime Minister: We are insisting that a proper conference must include representatives of the regime and representatives of the opposition, and that it should lead to a transitional Government. The UK Government have a clear view that neither of those stages can involve President Assad, for the reasons we have given, but that should not stand in the way of the transition that is necessary, and the transition that everyone in the G8, Russians included, believes is right.