British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is the only man in the world who can end the 5-year long bloodshed in Syria simply by making a phone call.
It will depend on whether the Russians are prepared to use their influence to force Bashar al-Assad engage in serious negotiations and commit efforts to fight ISIS, Hammond told Al-Jazeera TV channel on Monday.
“There’s one man on this planet who can end the civil war in Syria by making a phone call, and that’s Mr. Putin,” Hammond stressed.
“We demand that the Russians comply with their obligations under international law and their obligations under UN Security Council resolutions that they have signed up to,” Hammond said.
Hammond went on to say that undoubtedly the Russians rescued the Assad regime from the difficult situation it had been going through. “The military and political processes are not open-ended, so we have to test the Russians to provide something,” Hammond added.
The moderate opposition and the International Syrian Support Group (ISSG) will lose confidence in the international community if nothing happens this summer, Hammond said.
When asked about his country’s vision for Syria’s future, Hammond said that Great Britain seeks the establishment of a single entity and a legitimate inclusive government as well as transitioning Assad out through a political process. This, he said, needs cooperation by Russia.
Hammond concluded his remarks by stressing that the Syrian opposition needs to keep faith in the political process, and that there is the possibility of a political transition leading to the removal of Assad. This process, however, will not materialize unless Russia and Iran bring Assad to the negotiating table.
Hammond pointed out that the Assad regime and ISIS have been perpetrating atrocities of the same nature, but the only difference is that ISIS claims it has established a state or a caliphate, thus threatening to delegitimize the existing states. (Source: Al Jazeera)