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Dr. Riad Hijab meets with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

Date Posted: 10 February 2016

Dr. Riad Hijab met with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, he expressed his gratitude for the British government’s support of the Syrian revolution, its efforts to push for a political solution and its demands for respecting the fundamental rights of the Syrian people.

He also praised the outcome of the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference hosted in London on Thursday, February 4th, which raised more than $10 billion to help the Syrian people.

Dr. Hijab stressed that the most effective approach to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people is to end the siege of Syrian towns, to stop external aggression and aerial bombardment, the removal of foreign forces, militias, mercenaries and sectarian groups, and to work on returning displaced persons and refugees to their homes.  All these measures, Dr. Hijab stated, are mandated under international law and the relevant UN resolutions, particularly articles 12, 13 and 14 of UNSCR 2254 which calls for:  lifting the siege, enabling access for humanitarian aid, releasing detainees, halting aerial and artillery bombardment against civilians and civilian targets, and for all parties to immediately honour obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law. None of this could be realistically achieved except through the full implementation of relevant UN resolutions, which also specify the formation of a transitional governing body with full executive authority, following the removal of Assad and his clique from power, and holding the perpetrators accountable for their violations and ensuring they do not escape justice.

They discussed during their meeting the implications of the most recent and sudden Russian escalation of air strikes in support of regime forces and the negative impact this has had on the political process.  Dr. Hijab emphasised that resorting to violence and targeting populated areas are attempts by the regime to evade the inevitable outcomes of the political process, and the only means through which it is able to ensure its survival.

Mindful of the Russian role to undermine UN efforts to derail the political process, Dr. Hijab reiterated the readiness of the High Negotiations Committee to cooperate with international efforts to advance the political process.  He however warned of the consequences of continued military operations on the security of the region and the negative impact this has on the Syrian people and neighbouring countries.  Moreover, he asserted that allowing the regime to continue violating the fundamental rights of the Syrian people will play into the hands of terrorists and would allow extremist elements to exploit the state of chaos and unsecured borders to threaten regional and global security.

Dr. Hijab concluded:  “I received a number of international guarantees and UN pledges to bring an end to the massacres against the Syrian people and for the implementation of Articles 12 and 13 of Security Council resolution 2254 which demands lifting the siege, releasing detainees and for the immediate cessation of indiscriminate shelling.  I think the time has come for the international community to fulfil its obligations and to put pressure on the regime and its allies to stop their war crimes against the Syrian people before commencement of the negotiating process."