Washington: The US and Britain have agreed to work on a strong and coordinated approach to ensure peaceful transition to a post-Assad Syria in assistance with its allies and other international partners, the top diplomats from the two countries has said.
"Our two countries remain committed to a Syrian-led political solution to the crisis there. We are deeply concerned about the dire situation in Syria, including the involvement of Hezbollah, as well as Iran, across state lines in another country," US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters yesterday.
"So we are focusing our efforts now on doing all that we can to support the opposition as they work to change the balance on the ground," Kerry said. He said that both the countries understand the complications with the situation on the ground and moving forward rapidly.
"There will have to be a political solution, ultimately, to the situation on the ground, and that is the framework that will continue to be the outline, and we remain committed to it," Kerry said in his joint news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Noting that Syria was an important part of the his talks with Kerry, Hague said they agreed today that they cannot turn away from Syria and its people.
"The United Kingdom believes the situation demands a strong, coordinated, and determined approach by the UK, the US, and our allies in Europe and in the region," he said. "We agreed today, of course, that our priority remains to see a diplomatic process in Geneva that succeeds in reaching a negotiated end to the conflict. But we will have to be prepared to do more to save lives, to pressure the Assad regime to negotiate seriously, and to prevent the growth of extremism and terrorism if diplomatic efforts are going to succeed," Hague said.
He said that the both nations have discussed thoroughly how to help the regime and opposition come to the negotiating table, as well as to protect civilian life. "We should never forget that this conflict began when the Assad regime turned its tanks, helicopter gunships, and heavy weapons against peaceful protesters. We shouldn't forget that 1.6 million people have become refugees and more than 4 million are internally displaced," he added.
Both Hague and Kerry agreed that political solution is the best solution to the present Syrian crisis. "Whatever happens, however long it goes on for, in the end there has to be a political solution. There isn't a solution for either side of only military conquest. The Syria that would be left at the end of that is not a Syria that would be able to function at all. And so there has to be a political solution," Hague said.
"I think that nobody wins in Syria the way things are going; the people lose, and Syria as a country loses. And what we have been pushing for, all of us involved in this effort, is a political solution that ends the violence, saves Syria, stops the killing and destruction of an entire nation," Kerry said.
He said that there's a unanimity about the importance of trying to find a way to peace, not a way to war and the Assad regime is making that very difficult.