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Turkish Incursion into Northern Syria

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 15th October 2019.

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Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Let me say at the outset that we share the right hon. Lady’s concerns about the worsening humanitarian situation, about the impact that the Turkish intervention has on stability and about the terrorism threat on the ground and more generally. She asks about the export regime. She will know that we have one of the most rigorous and robust export licence regimes in the world, but we keep it under constant review and will continue to do so—particularly in relation to this instance—in the way in which I have described.

The situation on the ground has been very fluid, but we are deeply disappointed with Turkey’s decision. The right hon. Lady asks what we need to do now. Well, we now need—more than ever—to have closer co-operation between our international partners, and that means the US and the EU. We do not accept the frankly inaccurate characterisation of the UK’s position in Monday’s EU Foreign Affairs Council. We work with our partners. There were different views, but we always want to ensure that we take a balanced approach, as our EU partners did. The most important things are the conclusions that were agreed, and which I have set out at some length.

The situation also shows that we need NATO now more than ever. I gently say to the right hon. Lady that that is one of the reasons that it is so irresponsible that the leader of the Labour party has called for us to come out of NATO.