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Syria and North Korea

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:13 pm on 18th April 2017.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 4:13 pm, 18th April 2017

I pay tribute to the hon. Lady’s consistent campaigning on this issue over the years. She is right to draw attention to the appalling humanitarian situation. Around 1.5 million people are still being besieged by Assad’s regime, which is using starvation as an instrument of warfare. On what we are trying to do, I go back to my earlier points: there must be a ceasefire and the Russians must make it possible for the humanitarian convoys to access the people who need help. That is what we are trying to promote, not only in Geneva but at the Astana talks. It is up to the Russians. We can build the exit for them, and I think it is an attractive exit: they have the chance to get long-term western support for the rebuilding of Syria; they would have their strategic interests in Syria—at Tartus and Latakia—protected in the long term; and they could have a political role in Syria’s future, but they have to ensure that there is a ceasefire, an end to the barrel bombs and a proper political process.