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Syria — Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:37 pm on 9th January 2014.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 2:37 pm, 9th January 2014

That is exactly why I am going on to say that the noble Lord, Lord Wright of Richmond, is right to say that a political solution to this problem is imperative and is strongly supported by this country. It was supported by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, and my noble friend Lady Tonge joined in recognising the importance of it.

The noble Lord, Lord Wright of Richmond, asked me if I could give more details about the Geneva conference on 22 January. I cannot give him any more information than that which he already possesses, but I will write to him and, if I may, place a copy of that letter in the Library and circulate it to all Members of the House who have spoken in the debate.

I have a couple of notes here for the noble Lord, Lord Rosser. Options to help Syrian refugees, including some form of resettlement, have been discussed on a number of occasions. We expect to continue these discussions but there are no plans for an EU-wide evacuation or resettlement programme. Instead, we want to focus on developing a programme for protection in the region and a development programme. I think I have made that clear throughout the remarks I have made.

I understand that this is a highly emotive issue and one that continues to require real action through high levels of international co-operation, both in the region and more widely. The UK has a proud tradition of providing protection to those in need, and this Government are committed to continuing to play their full part in the international response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Roberts, for giving us a chance to explain that.