Cameron changes his Assad position

David Cameron has indicated that Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, should face international criminal prosecution, despite having dropped his opposition to the dictator staying in power temporarily as part of a transitional government. On the eve of a UN general assembly meeting, the prime minister emphasised his belief that Assad, who is backed by the Kremlin and Iran, has “butchered his own people” and fomented the rise of Islamic State in lawless areas of the country. He also signalled that he still believed Assad should be prosecuted for war crimes if he is proven to have broken international law by unleashing chemical weapons. However, Cameron is among the western leaders to have shifted his position from demanding the immediate departure of Assad to accepting he could be allowed to stay on as part of a transitional government – a plan supported by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. ”Conversations about how we bring about transition are important and that’s what we need to see progress on,” Cameron said. Asked how long Assad could remain in post as part of a deal with Russia, he replied: “I’m not going to speculate. But he can’t be part of Syria’s long-term future. That’s very clear.”

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